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SEIU polls in Illinois: Support for tax cuts strong. Memo

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WASHINGTON--The Service Employees International Union included Illinois in a poll about extending the Bush tax cut--President Obama wants to end it for folks making more than $250,000--and found support for the Obama position in Illinois. The poll is by Stanley Greenberg and found that supporting Obama on not extending the tax cuts for everybody--the Republicans want that extension--will be helpful to Democrats, especially in the Illinois Senate contest.

"In a tough political environment, where Alexi Giannoulias is locked in a competitive contest and is tied with Republican Mark Kirk 45 to 45 percent, the tax cut issue can help bolster Giannoulias' support," Greenberg said in a memo (read memo at the click below.) (The Greenberg firm is the Giannoulias campaign pollster)

The seven states the SEIU polled are Illinois, California, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin--all with big Senate battles.


"Good policy equals good politics," said SEIU spokesperson Teddy Davis. "Although some in Washington are proposing to temporarily extend the tax cuts for families making up to $1 million a year, this poll of likely voters in Illinois and other battleground states shows that more Americans support letting the tax cuts expire at $250,000 per year."

September 16, 2010
Strong Support in Illinois for Extending Middle-Class
Tax Cuts while Letting Taxes for the Wealthy Expire
Messaging Memo
To: Interested Parties
From: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and SEIU

Voters in Illinois strongly support proposals to extend tax cuts for middle-class families while allowing the tax breaks for the wealthiest and big corporations to expire. They prefer to see tax reform policies that put more money into the pockets of middle-class families, helping to grow the economy while also reducing the deficit. This approach challenges Republican arguments centered on the negative impacts of raising taxes on businesses and individuals in tough economic times. In a tough political environment, where Alexi Giannoulias is locked in a competitive contest and is tied with Republican Mark Kirk 45 to 45 percent, the tax cut issue can help bolster Giannoulias' support.

The following memo outlines the key findings of a poll conducted for the SEIU among 2,800 November 2010 likely voters in seven states, including 400 Illinois voters.

 The strongest Democratic message centers on allowing middle class families to keep
more of their earnings so that they can spend more, which in turn helps to create jobs
and lower the deficit. This message notes the crucial role middle class spending plays
while also acknowledging how the proposal will pay down the deficit, providing important
pushback on the strongest and most likely Republican attack.

Strongest Democratic tax cut message:
Middle-class families and small businesses are the backbone of our
economy. This proposal cuts taxes for middle class families making
less than $250,000 a year and gives them more money to spend.
When middle-class families have money to spend it helps the
economy, creates jobs, and lowers our deficit.
38 percent much more likely to support proposal
72 percent much/somewhat more likely to support proposal

This poll was conducted September 8 -13, 2010, among 2,800 likely voters, including 400 interviews in the state of Illinois. The statewide sample of 400 voters is subject to a margin of error of ±4.9 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

Messaging on Tax Cuts 2
 2010 Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, All Rights Reserved. September 2010
 A majority of voters think the Bush tax cuts either made no difference on the
economy (28 percent) or hurt the economy (27 percent). Only 40 percent think that they
have helped the economy. Moreover, a plurality--47 percent--say that the Bush tax cuts made no impact on their personal financial situation.
 Majorities of voters support letting tax cuts expire for the wealthy expire, whether at
the $250,000 a year or $1 million a year level. A majority of voters (62 percent) indicate
support for allowing tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest filers, including 53 percent who think that the tax cuts should be allowed to expire for the top earners and another 9 percent who say that all tax cuts should be allowed to expire. This holds true whether the cutoff is $1 million a year or $250,000 a year.

 Voters overwhelmingly favor proposals that focus tax cuts on middle-class families
and businesses, while allowing tax cuts for the wealthiest filers--at both the $250,000
a year and $1 million a year level--to expire. Two-thirds of voters favor a proposal that
makes permanent the middle-class tax cuts and provides those same people with a series of new tax cuts and credits, while allowing tax cuts on the upper-level filers to expire. The proposal garners broad support, regardless of whether the threshold for extending the tax cuts is set at $250,000 or $1 million a year.2


Messaging on Tax Cuts 3

 Emphasizing that 97 percent of small businesses benefit from the middle class tax
cut proposal trumps the argument that the tax plan raises taxes on small businesses
and will cost jobs. A majority of voters (54 percent) believe that the proposal will cut taxes
for nearly all small businesses, compared to 30 percent who side with the Republican
positioning. Democrats favor the "cuts taxes for 97 percent of small businesses" frame by a 69 - 20 percent margin; among independents, the Democratic position produces a strong 19-point advantage over the Republican argument, 49 - 30 percent.
Messaging on Tax Cuts 4

Appendix: Text of Middle-class Tax Cut Proposals

At $250,000 a year cutoff:
Under this plan, President Obama and the Democrats propose making the Bush tax cuts passed in 2001 permanent for families that make less than 250 thousand dollars a year. Tax cuts for those making more than 250 thousand dollars a year would be allowed to expire. Obama's plan would lower income taxes for families that make less than 250 thousand dollars a year and provide a series of additional tax cuts and credits to help middle class families pay for child care, save for their kids' college, or afford to buy a home.

At $1 million a year cutoff:
Under this plan, President Obama and the Democrats propose making the Bush tax cuts passed in 2001 permanent for families that make less than 250 thousand dollars a year and temporarily extending the tax cuts for families making up to one million dollars a year. Tax cuts for those making more than one million dollars a year would be allowed to expire. Obama's plan would lower income taxes for families that make less than 250 thousand dollars a year and provide a series of additional tax cuts and credits to help middle class families pay for child care, save for their kids' college, or afford to buy a home.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 21, 2010 5:07 PM.

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