Gallup: Americans Support Obama's Plan to Spend Now, Tax the Rich Later

Reading public opinion polls aren't a good way to make public policy. But they're the best way we know to read the minds of voters. So if it's true that the White House has abandoned compromise and embraced campaign tactics, today's Gallup poll on the president's stimulus and tax plans matters.

And, surprise, it's good news for the administration. By a two-to-one ratio, Americans support Obama's plan to increase taxes on the wealthy and big corporations. The same share expect that his proposed stimulus, the American Jobs Act, will create jobs and grow the economy. Three interesting things:

1) 'Tax the Rich' Really Is Popular. Americans (still) support increasing taxes on rich families and eliminating tax loopholes for corporations by more than two-to-one. At a time when the majority party in Congress has put tax increases off the table, this is a big surprise.
Please tell me whether you favor or oppose each of the following proposals President Obama has made to pay for the cost of the jobs bill. September 2011

2) Don't Call It a 'Social Security Tax Cut.' Americans broadly support every part of the $450 billion American Jobs Act. Except for biggest part, which is $250 billion in payroll tax relief for Americans. This is a framing conundrum. If you frame the payroll tax cut as "tax incentives for companies to hire," people love it. If you acknowledge that those tax incentives come from depleting Social Security revenue, support drops by 30 percentage points.
As you may know, President Obama has submitted a bill to Congress that includes a number of proposals designed to create jobs in the United States. Please tell whether you favor or oppose each of the following proposals. September 2011

3) Americans: The American Jobs Act Will Work. Two-in-three voters think the president's stimulus will create jobs. About the same number think it will improve the economy.

Based on what you know or have read about this bill, do you think it would ... help in creating new jobs? ... help improve the economy? September 2011 results

Americans want to spend more now and tax more later. Republicans want to spend less now and tax the same. There is little reason to think this Congress will pass $450 billion of additional stimulus, or that it will vote to raise taxes on the wealthy by more than $1 trillion. But a few more polls like this just might pressure Washington to do something, anything, to push the economy forward into 2012 while simultaneously using tax revenue to offset the cost over the next ten years.