A poll conducted last week by an Iowa-based firm showed Americans are conflicted about whether or not to support raising tax rates on wealthy Americans to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.” But that’s not how Bloomberg News, which commissioned the poll, reported the results Thursday.
In a story headlined “Americans Back Obama Tax-Rate Boost Tied to Entitlements,” Bloomberg emphasized only that the poll showed most Americans support President Barack Obama’s insistence on increasing taxes for high-income earners.
“A majority of Americans say President Barack Obama is right to demand that tax-rate increases for the highest earners be a precondition for a budget deal that cuts U.S. entitlement programs,” the story, written by reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis, began.
The poll asked respondents, “President Obama has said he will not negotiate with Republicans on cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare, until they agree to raise tax rates on the wealthy. Do you think he is right or wrong to insist on that as a precondition to broader negotiations?”
As Bloomberg reported in its story, 58 percent percent of respondents indicated that the president was “right” to insist on the precondition, while 37 percent said he was “wrong.”
But in the same poll, American adults were asked “whether it is better to raise the top tax rate the wealthy pay, or to limit the amount people can claim in tax breaks, such as mortgage interest and charitable contributions, so they end up paying tax on a bigger share of their income.”
Fifty-two percent responded that they preferred limited tax breaks to a tax-rate hike. Only 39 percent said they would rather see tax rates on the wealthy increase. Nine percent indicated they weren’t sure.
The Bloomberg News story quoted the president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the survey, saying the results indicated that Republicans and Speaker of the House John Boehner should yield to the president.