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64% Say Middle Class Americans Pay the Largest Share of Their Income in Taxes

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Most Americans continue to believe the middle class pays more in taxes than those who are wealthy, and they favor an income tax system where everyone pays the same percentage of their income.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 23% of Adults think wealthy Americans pay a larger share of their income in taxes. Sixty-four percent (64%) disagree and say middle-class Americans pay a larger share. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

This marks little change since 2009.  It's important to note, however, that the question does not define either "middle class" or "wealthy" by specific income levels.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters favor a tax system where everyone pays the same percentage of their income in taxes, up 10 points from last year at this time. Twenty-six percent  (26%) oppose such a system, and another 19% are undecided about it.

But a plurality (43%) opposes the elimination of all tax deductions in exchange for lower tax rates, down eight points from a year ago. Twenty-three percent (23%) say it's a good idea. Twenty-nine percent (29%) aren't sure.

Sixty-five percent (65%) say if deductions for charitable donations were reduced for wealthy Americans, it is at least somewhat likely that the wealthy would give less to charity. That includes 40% who say it is Very Likely. Twenty-one percent (21%) think that's unlikely, but only six percent (6%) say it is Not At All Likely.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults nationwide was conducted on March 13-14, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.


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