Poll of the week
A Quinnipiac University survey released on Wednesday found that just 25 percent of voters approved of the Republican tax plan. A majority, 52 percent, disapproved. That’s really bad and in line with prior polling.
Senate Republicans seem intent on pressing forward anyway and are now trying to include a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate in the bill. But while attaching a partial Obamacare repeal to tax legislation is probably a mistake politically, some of the GOP’s recent tweaks to the legislation suggest that they’re reading the same polling we are and trying to improve the politics of their tax push.
Tweaks, however, likely won’t be enough.
Remember, the health care debate wasn’t pleasant for the GOP. While 25 percent of voters approved of the Republican tax plan in Quinnipiac’s most recent poll, an even lower 19 percent approved of the party’s health care bill the last time Quinnipiac polled on it in September.
On the other hand, although Obamacare as a whole is fairly popular, the GOP is only going after the individual mandate, which is unpopular. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted this month showed that 55 percent of Americans support eliminating the individual mandate, a key provision of Obamacare that requires almost all Americans to buy insurance or pay a fine. It’s one of the most unpopular parts of the Affordable Care Act.
And the elimination of the individual mandate would supposedly be used to fund middle-class tax cuts. That’s a good move politically. Polling shows that a big reason the Republican tax plan is unpopular is that many people think it benefits the rich. In Quinnipiac’s survey, only 30 percent of Americans said they believe the tax cut will largely help the middle or lower class compared to 61 percent who say it will mostly help the upper class.
Senate Republicans have also made some other changes that are likely to be popular. Their bill would now increase the child tax credit to $2,000 per child, for instance. Morning Consult found that 60 percent of voters supported that credit as it was originally proposed at $1,600 per child. In addition, the latest bill dropped the tax rate for those making between $38,700 and $200,000. That, in theory, could help Republicans claim that the middle class is seeing benefits from the tax plan.
Of course, it’s probably too little, too late. Voters aren’t wrong about the Republican plan: The GOP legislation still largely benefits the rich more than the poor or middle class, according to a report released on Thursday by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s nonpartisan tax analysts. It’s very unpopular, and small changes are unlikely to move the needle much.
We’ll have to see if, unlike with the health care debate, Senate Republicans ultimately ignore public opinion and pass a bill.
Other polling nuggets
Trump’s job approval rating
Trump’s job approval rating barely budged in the last week: 38.1 percent approve of his performance, while 55.7 percent disapprove. Last week, Trump’s approval rating was 37.7 percent to a disapproval rating of 56.6 percent.
The generic ballot
Democrats hold a large advantage over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot: 48.3 percent to 37.3 percent. That’s up from last week, when Democrats were up ahead 46.8 percent to 38.2 percent.