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Most Voters Believe Congress Likely to Extend Bush Tax Cuts For All

Despite Democratic resistance to extending the Bush tax cuts for those who earn $200,000 or more a year, most voters are optimistic that the tax cuts will be continued for all Americans.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of Likely Voters say it’s at least somewhat likely the Bush tax cuts will be extended for all taxpayers, including 24% who say it's Very Likely. Thirty percent (30%) say it’s not likely Congress will vote to extend the tax cuts for all, but only six percent (6%) say it’s Not At All Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Republicans argue that given the state of the economy, now is not the time for tax increases on any Americans, while Democrats insist that those whom they view as wealthy should pay more. The White House and Republican leaders are reportedly working on a deal to extend the tax cuts for all Americans in exchange for an extension of unemployment benefits and some increased stimulus spending.

In November, 50% of Americans preferred extending the Bush administration tax cuts for all Americans, but 44% favored their extension for everyone except the wealthy.

Many Democrats were initially opposed to any extension of the tax cuts, but most voters have consistently favored their continuation in surveys since August. Support for extending them to the wealthy has not been as strong but has been slightly ahead of support for a limited extension.

The Bush tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, according to The Washington Post, “lowered tax rates across the board on income, dividends and capital gains; eventually eliminated the estate tax; further lowered burdens on married couples, parents and the working poor; and increased tax credits for education and retirement savings.” The president is currently considering extending most of these cuts except for taxpayers who earn more than $200,000 per year and families that make more than $250,000.

A majority of Republicans, Democrats and voters not affiliated with either major political party see an extension of the Bush tax cuts for all Americans as likely.

Political Class voters are slightly less confident than those in the Mainstream that the tax cuts will be extended for all Americans.

Opponents of extending the Bush tax cuts cite the size of the federal deficit as one of their chief arguments, but 51% of voters say it’s possible to balance the budget without raising taxes.

Only 18% of Americans are willing to pay higher taxes to lower the federal budget deficit.

Recent polling shows that when faced with a budget crisis, most Americans think "it's always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money."

Americans are receptive to a proposal by President Obama’s bipartisan deficit reduction commission to increase the level of income taxable for Social Security, but most don’t like the idea of raising the retirement age.

But Americans are narrowly divided when asked about possible ways to limit the income tax deduction on interest paid on home mortgages.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site’s content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on December 1-2, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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