Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll: Taxing Times

While most Americans think a tax cut will pass Congress this year, many also believe a recession is looming according to the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll taken of 901 registered voters nationwide on February 7-8.

President Bush and Tax Cuts

Just over half of Americans favor President Bush's proposed $1.6 trillion dollar tax cut, and 64 percent believe it is either "very likely" or "somewhat likely" Congress will pass a major tax cut this year. This may explain at least in part why Bush's job approval rating climbed nine points (to 55 percent) since the end of January.

The Economy

Overall, the public is feeling fairly grim about the economy, and the number who think the country is in for a recession is rising. Today, 66 percent think a recession this year is likely, up from 57 percent who thought so a month ago. In addition, 39 percent say they have tried to reduce spending because of concern about a recession or job loss. One-quarter now think someone in their family will lose his or her job this year. Thirty-four percent say their family could only live for three months or less on their savings without going into additional debt.

"Right now the anti-recession battle is clearly being fought in the court of public opinion," commented Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "President Bush with his tax cut and Alan Greenspan with this interest rate cuts are both trying to inspire consumers to keep on spending and borrowing-and keep the economy humming-even though they know their prescriptions will take some time to take effect. They both seem to expect the placebo effect-the belief that the medicine will work-to work faster and better than the medicine itself."

Clinton Pardons

A majority of Americans, including about one-third of Democrats, think some of former President Clinton's last-minute pardons were an abuse of power. On the Marc Rich pardon, 72 percent of the public knows about the case and, of those, 75 percent think the pardon represents "justice denied." Fully 68 percent believe Clinton gave the pardon because he received contributions from Rich's family and friends. With regard to Clinton's overall honesty, 46 percent think he is less honest than other politicians, while 51 percent think his level of honesty is at least equal to other politicians.

Valentine's Day

Even with talk of a possible recession, most Americans would choose health (58 percent) and love (35 percent) over money (4 percent). About half of the country, and more men than women, believe in love at first sight (53 percent men versus 46 percent women). Married people are more likely to believe in love at first sight than singletons (52 percent versus 45 percent).

Maybe instead of asking about someone's astrological sign, the new pickup line should be "What political party do you belong to?" Seventy-nine percent of married respondents said their spouse supports the same political party as they do.

Gore Heads Back to School

It has been reported that former Vice President Al Gore and Bill Clinton are blaming each other for Gore's defeat. Half the public thinks Gore was more responsible for his own defeat and 26 percent blame it more on Clinton.

Gore's future plans include teaching at a few different universities. The top choice among our respondents for the course Gore is most qualified to teach is "How to Have a Happy Marriage" (43 percent), over "How to Run a Political Campaign" (22 percent) and "How to Run an Ethical Government" (16 percent).

Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll Results

Polling was conducted by telephone February 7-8, 2001 in the evenings. The sample is 901 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 prominent people. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each one. If you've never heard  of someone, please just say so.
SCALE: 1. Favorable 2. Unfavorable 3. (Can't say) 4. (Never heard of)

George W. Bush:

2. Dick Cheney:

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

4. 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?

5. How likely do you think it is that Congress will pass a major tax cut this year:

6. Some people say a major tax cut would help families by spurring economic growth, while other people say it would hurt families by decreasing the funds available for programs such as education and healthcare. Which is closer to your view - would a tax cut:

7. Which of the following do you think would be better for the country?

8. President Bush has proposed using faith-based organizations, such as churches, to deliver services to the needy. Which of the following do you think is more likely:

9. Do you think that some of the pardons former President Clinton issued on his last day in office were an abuse of the presidential pardon power or were they fairly typical of presidential pardons?

10. Have you heard or read about former President Clinton granting a presidential pardon to Marc Rich, a businessman who has been in exile in Switzerland since being accused of rigging oil prices and avoiding taxes?

11. In the case of the pardon granted to Marc Rich, do you think this represents justice done or justice denied?

12. Which pardon do you think was more justified:

13. Which of the following do you think is more likely to be the reason former President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich:

14. Of the most recent Clinton controversies, which one bothers you the most?

15. How likely do you think an economic recession is in the U.S. in the coming year? SCALE: 1. Very likely 2. Somewhat likely 3. Not very likely 4. Not at all likely 5. (Vol: Recession has started) 6. (Not sure)

16. How likely do you think it is that you or someone in your family will lose their job this year?

17. If it were necessary, how long do you think your family could live on the money you have saved without going into additional debt?

18. Have you personally tried to reduce your household and personal spending because of concern about a possible recession or job loss?

19. Recently, the Federal Reserve Board cut interest rates. Will these interest-rate cuts cause you to increase your purchasing, decrease your purchasing or won't they make any difference in how much you buy?

20. If you could have only one of the following, which would you pick?

21. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Summary - Believe in Love at First Sight:

22. Are you currently married?

23. Does your spouse support the same political party you do?

24. When you date, do you generally date people who:

25. Have you ever dated someone you met online on the Internet? (If no) Would you if the situation arose?

26. Do you ever still think about your high school sweetheart?

27. Recent press reports say Bill Clinton and Al Gore are blaming each other for Gore's defeat. If you had to choose between Bill Clinton's behavior and Al Gore's behavior, which one was more responsible for Gore losing the presidency?

28. How do you think Bill Clinton's honesty compares to that of other politicians? Is Clinton:

29. There have been a number of accusations about the Clinton staff trashing the White House and taking things when they left. Do you think these accusations are:

30. Former Vice President Al Gore has announced plans to teach courses at four different universities. Which one of the following courses do you think he is most suited to teach?