Amid rising economic anxiety and weakening approval for President Joe Biden’s job performance comes another red flag for Democrats. The public does not approve of the president’s massive spending proposals if it means that taxes will have to go up.
The latest I&I/TIPP Poll asked, “To what extent would you support or oppose President Biden’s proposed spending plans if you knew it would result in tax increases?” When asked that way, only 45% support his plans, with 55% saying either they oppose it or aren’t sure.
Not surprisingly 71% of Democrats say they support Biden’s spending plans – which in addition to the $1.9 trillion “Recovery Act” already approved, includes the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill the Senate recently passed, and another $3.5 trillion to fund new entitlements and other programs. The latter includes a host of tax increases that are said to target only the wealthy and large corporations.
In contrast, just 15% of Republicans back Biden’s spending plans, which also isn’t surprising. What is unexpected is that support from independents is virtually nonexistent. Only 34% say they back the extra spending if it means higher taxes, while 49% oppose it and 17% say they aren’t sure.
Also, just 43% of political moderates back the new spending, compared with 69% of liberals and 31% of conservatives.
The I&I/TIPP data come from the monthly I&I/TIPP poll conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. The most recent poll was conducted online from July 28 to July 30. The survey includes responses from 1,322 adults, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 points. It is part of a new collaboration between Issues & Insights and TIPP to gauge public opinion on key current issues of interest to all Americans.
Geographically, support for tax-hike financed spending increases is strongest among urbanites and those in the northeast (61% and 51%, respectively) and weakest among those in rural areas and the Midwest (31% and 37%). Also telling is that only 39% of suburban voters, those instrumental in putting Biden into the White House, say they back the new spending if it means additional taxes.
Another interesting finding is the split between men and women. The I&I/TIPP poll found that men are less concerned about tax hikes than women, with half of the men saying they back Biden’s spending plans if they knew it would result in tax increases. That compares with just 40% of women who’d support it.
Among different age groups, the only one that supports tax-financed new spending is the 25-44 age group (61%). The 18-24 crown is more tax-averse (with 44% opposed to such new spending and 43% supporting it) as are older groups.
Another somewhat surprising finding is that support increases with income, even though the wealthy are targeted for those tax hikes. It goes from 38% for those making $30-$50,000, up to 60% for those making more than $75,000. Support also increases with education, going from 37% for those with a high school education to 57% of college graduates.
The poll did not detail the taxes included in the $3.5 trillion budget bill or the fact that higher inflation many economists believe will result from excessive spending acts as a tax on the middle class. (The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that wages haven’t been keeping pace with the recent spike in inflation, with real wages dropping over the past several months.)
A question by TIPP in the same poll for Larry Kudlow, the former chief of the National Economic Council under President Donald Trump, found that 43% of those surveyed say Biden’s spending plans will worsen inflation. There’s a sharp partisan split, with only 24% of Democrats saying that, while 72% of Republicans say inflation will result. Among independents, nearly half (46%) say the nearly $5 trillion in new spending will worsen inflation.
I&I/TIPP will create more data from polls in the coming weeks on topics of vital interest to all Americans. TIPP has the distinction of being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.