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.
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.
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.