POLL OF THE DAY: What Everyone Is Missing About The Buffett Rule Poll

Obama Buffett Rule

Photo: AP

Here’s an actual headline on The Daily Kos from Friday, April 13, 2012: “New Gallup Poll: Americans favour Buffet Rule by 23%!” (SIC)Exclamation point and everything.

Now, here’s a headline that could have been written for this story from Sept. 27, 2011: “New Daily Kos Poll: Americans favour Buffett Rule by 57 per cent!”

Now, comparing polls from different organisations side-by-side is tricky. The Daily Kos is left-leaning. Gallup, the organisation that came out with the new poll showing still-overwhelming support for so-called “tax fairness” today, is independent. The questions, also, are phrased a bit differently. 

And the Gallup findings are still significant for a couple reasons. First, the bulk of Americans still want to enact this proposed bill. That means President Obama can gain a slew of political points on the campaign trail, even though the Buffett Rule has little chance of becoming law before the election this fall. 

More important is this statistic: 63 per cent of Independents support the rule, while just 33 per cent oppose it. 

Buffett Rule poll

Photo: Gallup

So, a couple more things about this: President Obama released his tax returns today. They showed that, under his proposed Buffett Rule — named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett — he would not pay the proposed 30 per cent tax rate for millionaires

Will Obama lose political points over that message?

“It’s really about messaging. It could go both ways,” said Lenwood Brooks, the policy director at Public Notice, which describes itself as an independent non-profit organisation providing insight on how government policy on the economy affects citizens.

“My first take is that this proposal that he’s endorsed, he might have some challenges in the sense that he’s exempt from his own proposal.”

Here’s the other important finding from the Gallup poll that could blunt the Obama campaign and Democrats’ enthusiasm. Only 1 per cent of respondents said that income gaps between the rich and poor are the most important issue heading into the election season. Also, this research showed that the income gap is down on the list of importance.

Buffett Rule poll

Photo: Gallup

But, as Gallup wrote in its analysis:

The current results reinforce these findings and underscore the now well-documented conclusion that Americans in general support various proposals for increasing taxes on higher-income Americans.

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