Do Americans want the keep the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or more? Gallup survey says: No. In fact, fully 59 percent of the public would like to end the tax cuts for at least some Americans.


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Let's break it down by affiliation. Democrats overwhelmingly prefer to amend part of Bush law. In fact, Dems would prefer to raise taxes on everybody (19 percent support letting all taxes rise) rather than nobody (18 percent support extending the full tax cuts). There is also surprising support among Republicans for raising taxes on the wealthy. For independents, it's basically a toss-up.

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Why are these numbers news? Well, a couple moderate senators -- Bayh, Nelson, Conrad, Lieberman -- have now said they won't join the president in calling for higher taxes on the $250K+ crowd. Not only are they bucking the White House, but also they're bucking the American public. Isn't this outrageous?

Maybe. But consider this. One month ago, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that 66 percent of Americans found higher taxes on the wealthy "acceptable." The poll also found that 51 percent of Americans found higher taxes on the wealthy "unacceptable" when they changed the framing of the question. It's very difficult to see what exactly Americans want Congress to do with their taxes, but I will say that as of early September, it appears that the White House is winning over the public even as it's losing its own party on the Bush tax cuts.

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