The public supports the child tax credit, but they view it as a temporary solution

July 26, 2021, 2:30 PM UTC

Most Americans don’t know anyone – not even an acquaintance – who is receiving the new childcare tax credit. The initial batch of payments was rolled out by the U.S. government on July 15, and marked the first of six deposits expected to help parents. The latest Economist/YouGov poll finds that knowing someone who is receiving the tax credit makes a difference in whether Americans approve or disapprove of the credit itself.

Knowledge of who is getting the tax credits is directly linked to age – those under the age of 45 are more likely to be receiving the credit themselves (15%) or know someone who is (42%). Those aged 30 to 44 are the most likely to have gotten a payment themselves (18%). Those who are 45 years or older are less likely to personally receive a payment (5%) or know someone else who will (36%).

Although one in ten white Americans (10%), Black Americans (11%), and Hispanic Americans (10%) are receiving the tax credit payments personally, Black Americans (43%) are more likely than white (33%) or Hispanic adults (34%) to know a close friend, a family member, or an acquaintance receiving the benefit. 

Support for the tax credit is related both to personal knowledge of someone receiving it and to party identification (and to a lesser extent, income). Only 7% of Republicans say they are getting the tax credit themselves, four points lower than the share of Democrats (11%) personally receiving it.

Republicans who know someone receiving the credit still oppose it, but narrowly. Half (48%) in this group oppose the credit, but 42% support it. Republicans who view taxes and government spending as a “very important” issue oppose the tax credit by nearly three to one: 22% support it, but 57% do not. 

Americans in general like the tax credit, but they view it as a temporary solution. Just 29% say they would make the child tax credit permanent, while 43% would not. Democrats are more in favor than the overall public, though less than half of them (47%) would make the credits permanent. One-quarter of Democrats (25%) would not. 

Although by more than two to one, those who support the child tax credits would make them permanent (53% would), one in five in this group (21%) would not, while there is overwhelming opposition to an extension from the nearly third of the public who oppose them to begin with (92% would not make them permanent). 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov poll  

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between July 17 - 20, 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 2.9% for the overall sample.   

Image: Getty