Published September 27, 2012
A large majority of likely voters believes all Americans should pay some federal income tax -- even if it is as little as one percent of what they make.
Seventy-nine percent say everyone should pay something, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday. That includes 85 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of independents and 71 percent of Democrats.
According to the IRS, last year approximately 41 percent of tax filers did not pay federal income tax. The Tax Policy Center estimates that will increase to 46 percent this year.
Most voters (73 percent) are at least somewhat familiar with the widely-broadcast videotape of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talking about “47 percent of Americans” and the number of people paying no federal income tax. Romney also talks about his concern that the country is becoming an entitlement society and that many are too dependent on government. Journalists and pundits speculated the tape would damage Romney’s campaign. Yet a 63-percent majority thinks the substance of Romney’s comment about dependence on government is mostly (36 percent) or somewhat true (27 percent).
Three out of four voters believes the “average American” is at least somewhat dependent on government (76 percent), while less than a third says they personally are (31 percent).
The poll also shows nearly half of voters -- 46 percent -- think the federal government is “trying to do too much” these days. That’s more than twice as many as say it’s doing “too little” (22 percent). Just over a quarter says the government is doing “about the right amount” (28 percent).
Voters are sharply divided over which candidate they trust to do a better job managing their tax dollars: 46 percent say Romney, while 45 percent say Barack Obama.
The Fox News poll is based on live telephone interviews on landlines and cell phones from September 24 to September 26 among 1,092 randomly-chosen likely voters nationwide. Likely voters are registered voters who are considered most likely to vote in the November presidential election. The poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. The poll is weighted by age and race; it is not weighted by party identification.