One In Three Americans Would Be Angry If Payroll Tax Reduction Ended

December 16, 2011, 6:00 PM GMT+0

Seven in ten Americans are aware that this year’s Social Security payroll tax reduction will expire at the end of the year — unless Congress extends it. And if Congress doesn’t extend the tax break, and the rate reverts back to 6.2%, more than half the public in the latest Economist/YouGov poll would be dissatisfied, with 34% saying this would make them downright angry. 

Keeping the Social Security payroll tax at its current level is something both Republicans and Democrats agree on. Most would be satisfied or even enthusiastic if the rate remained at its current 4.2% level. Nearly as many adults support lowering it even more. 

The extension of the payroll tax cut is dependent on Congress’s ability to act, something Americans have become skeptical about. For several weeks, the approval rating for Congress has dropped to an all-time low of 7%.

This week, Congress fares no better. Once again, only 7% of the public approves of the way the legislative branch is handling its job; 70% disapprove. Like public sentiment on keeping the payroll tax at 4.2%, disapproval of Congress is bi-partisan. Three in four Republicans and Democrats disapprove. 

The Democratic Party has a slight — but not overwhelming — advantage with the public when it comes to the perception of who cares about the issues affecting middle class Americans — the group that 61% of the public identifies with. 36% say the Republican Party is at least somewhat concerned about those issues; 47% say the Democratic Party is. But only one in five sees either party as very concerned about those issues. 

The 99% Occupy Wall Street claims to represent really is 99%, at least when it comes to identification: only 1% in this poll say that they would call themselves “wealthy.” In addition to the 61% who say they are “middle class,” 37% admit that they are “poor.” 

Photo source: Press Association

Economist/YouGov poll archives can found here.

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