Forty-one percent predict middle class will get gouged by taxes

November 1, 2017

As Congress finally surfaces from its immersion in health care, in preparation for a deep dive into tax reform, CNN is releasing results of a poll conducted in late September on the network’s behalf by SSRS. Overall, the researchers say, the American public is interested in tax reform, but very wary of what President Donald Trump may have in mind—as no details on the plan have been released to date.

Many Americans agree with Trump’s contention that the tax laws deserve a major revamp. All told, CNN reported, 68% of respondents said they believe that the federal income tax system needs either a complete overhaul (35%) or major changes (33%). That cuts across party lines—including 77% of Republicans, 70% of independents and 62% of Democrats.

Asked about the impact of a reform effort led by Trump, though, about four in 10 (40%) say they expect—and fear—that taxes for the middle class will rise, while just 25% say middle class taxes will drop. Likewise, more respondents predict that their own personal taxes will go up under this effort than drop (34% to 21%).

By contrast, more see tax decreases on the horizon for big businesses (47%) and for the wealthy (42%).

Predictably enough, these views are divided by party. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say their own taxes will drop under a Trump-led plan (40% among Republicans, 11% among Democrats) and that middle-class taxes will decline (52% among Republicans, 9% among Democrats). But Democrats are more convinced that the wealthy will see a decline in their tax bills (61% vs. 19% of Republicans) and that big businesses also will get a break (57% vs. 36% among Republicans).

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone September 17 to 20 among a random national sample of 1,053 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.

Research contact: @jennagiesta