71% of Republicans under 45 back increasing public spending, even if it means taxes increase

May 10, 2021, 8:07 PM GMT+0

President Joe Biden’s COVID relief plan was popular with many Americans, but the latest Economist/YouGov poll suggests that other spending proposals might not fare as well, despite Americans claiming to prioritize financial investments in the economy over limiting spending.

The data comes as President Biden tries to appeal to Republicans to support his $2 trillion infrastructure package, which would provide advanced training for workers in manufacturing and other industries, invest in electric vehicles, and increase funding for rural broadband internet access, among other elements. Biden hopes to fund his infrastructure plan by raising taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans earning more than $400,000 annually.

Three in five (62%) Americans support spending money on programs that could create jobs and improve the economy, even if taxes increase. About two in five (38%) would prefer to keep spending and taxes low.

There is a large difference in the opinions of Republicans and Democrats on this question. More than a third of Republicans overall (39%) say they are willing to support increased spending, even at the risk of higher taxes. But there is an age gap among Republicans. Seven in ten Republicans under the age of 45 (71%) would spend more, even at the risk of higher taxes, compared to 29% of older Republicans. Younger Republicans make up less than a third of all those who identify as Republicans.

President Biden’s “infrastructure” plan contains more than just the traditional concept of what infrastructure means – roads, bridges, and other physical structures. This has been a stumbling block for many Republicans, who have released their own much smaller proposal.

Both Republicans and Democrats are willing to spend more on infrastructure (70% of Democrats and 50% of Republicans). That being said, most Republicans (even those who support spending more) do not want taxes raised on corporations and those earning $400,000 a year or more in order to pay for the work.

One aspect included in both bills is the improvement of broadband infrastructure, something majorities of Republicans (53%) and Democrats (69%) support. But Republicans tend to reject investments in electric vehicles (just 17% support) and are lukewarm in their support of the part of the bill that provides for worker training (43% support).

For Republicans, whose party passed a major tax cut in the first year of President Trump’s term, taxes and spending are much more important than they are to Democrats. It is the third most important issue for Republicans (13%), behind only the economy (17%) and immigration (17%). Two-thirds of Republicans (65%) describe it as “very important” to them, compared with just 40% of Democrats. In addition, nearly half of Republicans (47%) believe the Biden infrastructure plan will hurt them.

The President’s ratings on handling taxes and government spending are mixed. But he continues to get positive marks for handling jobs and the economy as well as his job overall. On each issue, three out of four Republicans view him negatively.

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov poll

Related: Why YouGov is changing how we ask people whether they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between May 1 - 4, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 2.6% for the overall sample

Image: Getty