HPU/News and Record Poll: What NC Residents Believe About Tax Reform Proposals

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HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 8, 2017 – A High Point University/News and Record Poll surveyed North Carolina adults on how much they’ve heard of and what they think about President Donald Trump’s proposed tax reform. According to the results, a majority of North Carolinians have heard at least something about the new tax plan. Majorities also believe that wealthy Americans and large corporations will receive a tax cut, but they are not sure if their own households, the middle class, or the lower class will see reduced taxes.

When asked whether they have heard President Trump’s tax reform plan, a majority of North Carolinians say they have heard a lot or at least a little bit. About a quarter (23 percent) say they have heard a lot, and almost half (49 percent) say they have heard a little bit. 

When asked whether certain groups will pay less, more, or about the same amount in federal taxes if the plan were implemented, relatively large majorities believe that large American corporations (67percent) and wealthy Americans (60 percent) would pay less in federal taxes.

That level of agreement breaks down, however, when North Carolina residents are asked about their own households, low income Americans, and those in the middle class. The largest fraction of respondents say they think their household will pay more in federal taxes under the plan (43 percent) while 27 percent think they would pay the same amount in federal taxes, and 18 percent think they would pay less. 

Similarly, 45 percent of North Carolinians say they believe middle class Americans would end up paying more. Twenty-seven percent of North Carolinians believe low income Americans will pay less in federal taxes compared to 31 percent who believe low income Americans will pay about the same, and 30 percent who believe low income Americans they will pay more.

When asked about important goals for any tax reform plan, there is widespread agreement that promoting economic growth, boosting job creation, and reducing the budget deficit are all at least very important.

— Twenty-eight percent of North Carolinians say it is extremely important for a tax reform plan to promote economic growth while a majority (54 percent) say it is very important that a plan do that.

— Similarly, 30 percent of North Carolina residents say that it is extremely important that a plan boost job creation, while 46 percent say that it is very important. 

— Finally, 28 percent say that it is extremely important for such a tax reform plan to reduce the federal budget deficit while fewer people (37 percent) say that it is very important to do that compared to the other two goals.

“North Carolinians clearly would like to see tax reform that will accomplish a lot of goals,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll and associate professor of political science. “And, they are confident that President Trump’s proposals would lead to lower taxes for some people in the country. They are less certain, however, about how these plans would affect their own tax bills. That may create some difficulty in persuading the broader public that they will benefit directly from any new tax reform.”

 

All adults – Heard about President Trump’s tax reform (October/November 2017)

Now I would like to ask you a bit about tax policy.  How much have you heard about President Donald Trump’s proposed tax reform plan?  Would you say a lot, a little bit, or almost nothing at all?

A lot – 23 percent

A little bit – 49 percent

Not much at all – 27 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Oct. 27 – Nov. 4, 2017, n = 352 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5.2 percent)

 

All adults – Taxes under President Trump’s reform plan (October/November 2017)

As you may know, President Donald Trump is proposing a tax-reform plan.  I am going to read a list of different people and groups.  Please tell me based on what you know about President Trump’s plan whether each one will pay more in federal taxes, less in federal taxes, or will their federal taxes stay about the same…

 

Large American corporations

Pay less in federal taxes – 67 percent

Pay about the same – 13 percent

Pay more in federal taxes – 9 percent

Don’t know/refused – 11 percent

 

Wealthy Americans

Pay less in federal taxes – 60 percent

Pay about the same – 11 percent

Pay more in federal taxes – 18 percent

Don’t know/refused – 11 percent

 

Low income Americans

Pay less in federal taxes – 26 percent

Pay about the same – 28 percent

Pay more in federal taxes – 34 percent

Don’t know/refused – 12 percent

 

Middle class Americans

Pay less in federal taxes – 23 percent

Pay about the same – 20 percent

Pay more in federal taxes – 45 percent

Don’t know/refused – 12 percent

 

Your household

Pay less in federal taxes – 18 percent

Pay about the same – 27 percent

Pay more in federal taxes – 43 percent

Don’t know/refused – 13 percent

 (All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Oct. 27 – Nov. 4, 2017, n = 352 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5.2 percent)

 

 All adults – Goals for tax reform plans (October/November 2017)

How important do you think it is for a tax reform plan to do each of the following?  Would you say extremely important, very important, somewhat important, not very important, or not at all important?

Promote economic growth

Extremely important – 28 percent

Very important – 54 percent

Somewhat important – 11 percent

Not very important – 2 percent

Not at all important – 1 percent

Don’t know/refused – 4 percent

 

Boost job creation

Extremely important – 30 percent

Very important – 46 percent

Somewhat important – 13 percent

Not very important – 5 percent

Not at all important – 2 percent

Don’t know/refused – 4 percent

 

Reduce the federal budget deficit

Extremely important – 28 percent

Very important – 37 percent

Somewhat important – 21 percent

Not very important – 6 percent

Not at all important – 1 percent

Don’t know/refused – 7 percent

 (All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Oct. 27 – Nov. 4, 2017, n = 352 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5.2 percent)

 

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Oct. 27 – Nov.4, 2017. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 351 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 5.2 percentage points for all adult respondents. The data is weighted toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender, race, education, and party identification. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2017/11/54memoB.pdf.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, department chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll and an adjunct professor of survey research methods.

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