Fox News Poll

Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll: Tax Cuts in Focus

One thing is crystal clear in this week's FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll: Americans are thinking about tax cuts. Whether the focus is congressional agendas or what to do with the federal budget surplus, taxes are a priority.

When asked to name the most important issue for the federal government to address, 31 percent volunteered "taxes." Education (29 percent), the economy (18 percent), health care (15 percent), and Social Security (13 percent) round out the top five slots. Since mid-January, the tax issue jumped almost 20 percentage points, moving it up from fifth on the list. Education, almost always an issue that ranks in the top three, stays at the top, virtually tying taxes for first place.

When respondents were asked to choose from a short list what Congress should be working on right now, taxes/economy came out on top (21 percent), followed closely by Social Security and Medicare (19 percent), school violence (16 percent), education (15 percent), and health care (13 percent). Campaign finance reform, an issue the Senate has spent the last
two weeks debating, comes in dead last at four percent.

"President Bush has clearly been able to get Americans thinking about his proposal," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "To the extent he is shaping the debate, he is succeeding. However, as other presidents have discovered, results are all that matters. If the economy and the markets keep declining, having a debate about taxes isn't going to go down as an achievement. If he can get the cut through and it appears to have a positive impact on the economy, then he is in a position to benefit immensely."

Recently Congress has been debating the idea of giving taxpayers a rebate, possibly as early as this year. Only 21 percent of Americans prefer an immediate tax rebate to reductions in long-term overall tax rates (70 percent).

On an open-ended question regarding how the budget surplus should be used (no list was read so all responses were volunteered by the respondent), taxes again topped the list:

Tax Cuts 28%
Reduce national debt 19
Education 14
Social Security/Medicare/prescription drugs 13
Other domestic programs 9
Health care 4
Military 1

While tax cuts is the single item with the highest percentage, when domestic programs are taken as a group they add to 40 percent.

Mad Cow Disease

When not thinking about tax cuts, many are closely following the news about Mad Cow Disease (75 percent following "very" or "somewhat" closely). Thirty percent consider it a major threat to the health and safety of Americans, and 52 percent think it's a minor threat. But so far, only a small minority report changing their behavior in response to their concerns. Of course, if the 11 percent who say they will reduce or end beef consumption actually followed through, it would be a major blow to the industry. Less than one percent say they have actually cancelled travel plans in response to the disease.

Reparations for Slavery

Eleven percent of the public favors paying reparations to African-American descendants of slaves, while 81 percent are against reparations. Blacks and other minority groups are almost four times more likely than whites to support paying reparations.

Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll Results

Most recent poll: Polling was conducted by telephone March 28-29, 2001 in the evenings. The sample is 905 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. LV = likely voters

1. I'm going to read the names of some political figures. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each. If you've never heard of someone, please just say so. (Randomize)
SCALE: 1. Favorable 2. Unfavorable 3. (Can't say) 4. (Never heard of)

George W. Bush: 

  Favorable Unfavorable (Can't Say) (Never Heard)
30 Mar 01 59% 31 10 -
16 Mar 01 61% 28 11 -
23 Feb 01 61% 24 15 --
9 Feb 01 62% 27 11 --
26 Jan 01 61% 27 12 --
12 Jan 01 58% 31 11 --

2. Dick Cheney:

  Favorable Unfavorable (Can't Say) (Never Heard)
30 Mar 01 63% 17 18 2
16 Mar 01 61% 19 18 2
23 Feb 01 58% 17 21 4
9 Feb 01 61% 18 19 2
26 Jan 01 64% 16 17 3
12 Jan 01 57% 19 20 4

3. Bill Clinton:

  Favorable Unfavorable (Can't Say) (Never Heard)
30 Mar 01 41% 52 7 -
16 Mar 01 40% 54 6 -
23 Feb 01 40% 54 6 --
12 Jan 01 48% 46 6 --
1 Dec 00 43% 51 6 --
3 Nov 00 45% 50 5 --
20 Oct 00 48% 49 3 --

4. John McCain:

  Favorable Unfavorable (Can't Say) (Never Heard)
30 Mar 01 54% 17 22 7
10 Mar 00 50% 28 17 5
25 Feb 00 57% 19 19 5
11 Feb 00 54% 15 20 11

5. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?

  Approve Disapprove (Not sure)
30 Mar 01 57% 24 19
16 Mar 01 56% 23 21
23 Feb 01 61% 16 23
9 Feb 01 55% 16 29
26 Jan 01 46% 14 40

6. What do you think are the two most important issues for the federal government to address?

  30 Mar 01 12 Jan 01 11 Aug 00 12 May 00
Taxes 31% 13% 16% 14%
Education 29 32 33 28
Economy 18 19 9 9
Health Care 15 23 20 18
Social Security 13 15 22 20
Medicare/
Medicaid Reform
9 10 10 8
Environment 6 4 3 3
Crime/drugs 5 7 7 8
Defense 5 7 8 4
Foreign Policy 4 6 5 4
Family values/
morals (decline of)
4 5 5 3
Balanced Budget 4 4 4 3
Employment/jobs 3 4 3 3
Gun control 3 2 3 10
Abortion 2 4 5 2
Welfare 2 3 4 4
Federal deficit 2 2 2 2
Poverty/
homelessness
1 2 2 2
Campaign finance reform 1 1 1 1
Child care 1 -- 1 1
Immigration - 1 -- 1
Race relations - -- 1 --
IRS Problems -- -- -- --
Other 5 3 4 4
(Don't Know) 7 6 7 12

7. Thinking ahead to the year 2002, if the congressional election were being held today, would you vote for the Republican candidate in your district or the Democratic candidate in your district? (If undecided) Well, if you had to vote, which way would you lean?

  30 Mar 01 12 Jan 01 8 Sep 00 26 May 00 14 Jan 00
Republican Vote 32% 26% 32% 36% 35%
Republican Lean 6 7 8 6 7
Republican Total 38 33 40 42 42
Democratic Vote 33 32 34 33 32
Democratic Lean 3 6 7 6 4
Democratic Total 36 38 41 39 36
(Other/Not Sure) 26 29 19 19 22

8. Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Bush is doing on the following issues:

Managing the economy?
  Approve Disapprove (Don't know)
30 Mar 01 52% 27 21

9. Managing foreign affairs?

   Approve Disapprove (Don't know)
30 Mar 01 52% 22 26

10. Setting energy policy?

  Approve Disapprove (Don't know)
30 Mar 01 39% 33 28

11. Setting tax policy?

  Approve Disapprove (Don't know)
30 Mar 01 54% 31 15

12. Setting education policy?

  Approve Disapprove (Don't know)
30 Mar 01 57% 20 23

13. As you know, the U.S. has a budget surplus. What do you think should be done with this money?

(Tax Cuts) 28%
(Reduce national debt) 19
(Increase spending on education) 14
(Strengthen Social Security/
Medicare/Prescription drugs)
13
(Increase spending on OTHER domestic programs) 9
(Increase spending on health care) 4
(Increase military spending) 1
(Other - Specify) 3
(Not sure) 9

14. Of the following issues, which one do you think it is the most important for Congress to be working on right now?

Taxes and the economy 21%
Campaign finance reform 4
Energy issues 9
School violence 16
Education 15
Social Security and Medicare 19
Health care 13
(Not sure) 3

15. Which political party - the Republicans or the Democrats - do you think would do a better job on each of the following issues?

  Republicans Democrats Equal Not sure
Social Security 39% 41 7 13
Taxes 47% 35 7 11
Health care 36% 41 10 13
Education 42% 35 12 11
Military Defense 59% 22 7 12
The Economy 42% 37 8 13
Medicare 35% 41 9 15
Family Values 52% 25 11 12

Compare to: Which political party - the Republicans or the Democrats - do you think would do the best job on each of the following issues: SCALE: 1. Republicans 2. Democrats 3. (Equal) 4. (Not sure)

    Republicans Democrats Equal Not sure
Foreign policy 25 Jun 99 46% 26 9 19
Gun Control 25 Jun 99 32% 40 8 20
Improving
education
25 Jun 99 32% 40 11 17
  26 Feb 99 31% 42 11 16
  30 Oct 98 28% 42 9 21
Maintaining
strong
economy
25 Jun 99 39% 38 9 14
  26 Feb 99 41% 39 8 12
Reducing
crime
& drug abuse
25 Jun 99 37% 31 13 19
  26 Feb 99 37% 29 15 19
Providing
moral
leadership
25 Jun 99 48% 23 11 18
  26 Feb 99 44% 23 11 12
  30 Oct 98 * 44% 20 12 24
* "best job on maintaining moral standards"
Preserving
Social
Security
25 Jun 99 32% 43 8 17
  26 Feb 99 28% 46 10 16
  30 Oct 98 * 30% 43 7 20
* "best job on Social Security"
Keeping taxes
down
25 Jun 99 45% 32 8 15
  26 Feb 99 44% 33 8 15

16. Based on what you know about it, do you favor or oppose President Bush's proposal for a $1.6 trillion dollar tax cut over the next 10 years?

  Favor Oppose (Not sure)
30 Mar 01 55% 33 12
16 Mar 01 55% 32 13
9 Feb 01 54% 29 17

17. Which of the following do you think is more important:

An immediate tax rebate for taxpayers, or 21%
Reductions in long-term overall tax rates? 70
(Not sure) 9

18. Which of the following do you think better describes a tax refund:

Your own money being returned to you, or 79%
The government taking money from other things to give to you? 12
(Not sure) 9

19. In the last month, have you taken money out of the stock market - by selling stocks or mutual funds - and put it into another investment?

Yes 9%
No 90
(Not sure) 1

20. How closely have you been following the news about Mad Cow Disease?

Very closely 28%
Somewhat closely 47
Not very closely 18
Not at all 6
(Not sure) 1

21. How much of a threat do you think Mad Cow Disease is to the health and safety of Americans?

A major threat 30%
A minor threat 52
Not a threat at all 11
(Not sure) 7

22. Have you made any life-style changes because of the threat of Mad Cow Disease? (What?)

Yes, (eating less beef/meat) 9%
Yes, (stopped eating beef/meat) 2
Yes, (cancelled travel plans to England) -
Yes, (other___) 1
No 87
(Not sure) 1

23. Do you think the United States should pay reparations for slavery, that is, pay money to African-Americans who are descendants of slaves?

Yes, reparations should be made 11%
No, reparations should not be made 81
(Not sure) 8

24. (If yes) If taxes had to be raised or tax money had to be taken away from other programs, would you still favor paying reparations?

Yes, still favor 68%
No, would not still favor 26
(Not sure) 6

25. In general, do you think labor unions today are good for America or bad for America?

    Good Bad (Not sure)
30 Mar 01 All 49% 32 19
  Union H.H. 71% 19 10
8 Aug 97   49% 34 17

26. Do you think the president of the United States should have the power to stop a strike by a labor union?

  All Union H.H.
Yes 44% 38%
No 33 43
(Depends/national security) 17 16
(Not sure) 6 3

Compare to: Last week, President Clinton intervened to stop a strike by American Airlines pilots. Do you think the President should have the right to stop any strike? (21 Feb 97)

Yes 55%
No 39
(Not sure) 6

27. Are you a member of a labor union or does anyone else in your household belong to a labor union?

Yes, respondent a union member 10%
Yes, other in household a union member 7
Yes, both respondent
and other in household
a union member
2
No 80
(Refused) -
(Not sure) 1