Break The Tax Pledge To Avoid The Fiscal Cliff? Americans Divide On How To React

November 28, 2012, 1:30 PM GMT+0

(Week of 11/23/2012) 238 House members and 41 Senators, nearly all Republican, have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, vowing to oppose all tax increases while in office. As the country moves closer to a "fiscal cliff" that would require automatic large budget cuts and tax increases, some are rethinking that pledge. But in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, Americans aren’t sure how to react to these changes. Nearly one in three (31%) thinks anyone who breaks the pledge should be criticized for that shift. But nearly as many (28%) think they should be congratulated for their willingness to address the country’s budget problems. And slightly more (29%) thought it would depend on the type of tax increase representatives support. Opinions are vaguely partisan. 40% of Republicans think there should be criticism. 35% of Democrats would congratulate those who change. But almost half (48%) of Republicans seem willing to countenance at least some tax increases — either saying those who change should be congratulated or waiting until they see what the tax increase looks like.

In last week’s Economist/YouGov Poll, most Americans seemed willing to accept some tax increases as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

More Americans favor the Taxpayer Protection pledge in principle than oppose (45% to 37%); Republicans favor it overwhelmingly (62% to 21%). One reason the tax pledge may have such support is that many Americans don’t think additional revenue is necessary. 39% believe that the current amount of annual revenue is enough to fund the federal government’s responsibilities. Half of Democrats think that more revenue is needed compared with only 16% of Republicans.