No new taxes?

November 09, 2014, 5:15 PM GMT+0

Most Americans would support raising taxes to help seniors and veterans, but not to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

One of the goals of Republican legislators is to keep taxes low. President George H.W. Bush promised “no new taxes” in 1988, and faced a GOP) primary challenge after taxes were raised. And Republicans generally oppose most government spending programs and higher taxes. But most Americans and even many Republicans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll would increase taxes for programs that benefit senior citizens and military veterans.

There may be a measure of self-interest: Republicans are more likely than Democrats to be 65 and older, and those 65 and older overwhelmingly support increasing taxes for Medicare and Social Security. Republicans are also more likely than Democrats to be part of a military family. Republicans overall would raise taxes to pay for programs for veterans, and they are closely divided when it comes to raising taxes for Social Security and Medicare.

Even more Democrats support increased taxes for each of those programs: two-thirds would support raising taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare, and 63% of Democrats support raising taxes for pay for veteran programs. A majority of military households and veterans (56%) support raising taxes for veterans programs.

There is opposition to tax increases from pretty much everyone when it comes to funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Three in four oppose increasing taxes for that purpose, and the percentage opposed is little different for Republicans and Democrats or for veterans or those in military households.

The starkest partisan difference comes when people are asked whether they would support increased taxes is it were used to pay for research on the Ebola virus. Americans are evenly divided, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

In other questions about Ebola in this poll, a majority of the public (and 46% of Republicans) believed the U.S. government should spend money fighting contagious diseases in other countries, and 40% overall (along with a majority of Republicans) believed the U.S. was not doing enough to contain the Ebola outbreak.

Full results can be found here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.