”’Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) commissioned the Tarrance Group to conduct a new nationwide survey of voters’ attitudes about economic policy. This new July poll is the third in a series of polls we have conducted this year on the economy and economic policy. You may also access the attached information along with charts at:”’ http://www.cse.org
After studying the polling data, I urge you to talk more frequently about your accomplishments. This year, President Bush and the Congress worked together to pass the third largest tax cut in American history. Despite this remarkable achievement, few Americans are aware of what the legislation does for American families. Yet, as you will see from the poll results, voters overwhelmingly support the specific elements in the tax cut legislation. Once voters understand the specifics of the tax cut, support for the tax plan, support for the President’s handling of the economy and his overall job approval rating increase significantly. The legislation has already begun to improve the economy and you should be taking credit for it.
As you know, many of the presidential candidates in the Democratic primary are talking about tax increases. Our new poll demonstrates this is a clear loser with the American people. Tax increases are bad economic policy, and tax increases remain bad politics.
Finally, moving forward the American people still want tax reform. A large majority support making the tax cuts permanent. You need to talk about what you have just accomplished so the American people are aware, but at the same time you can also begin to talk about a positive agenda for the future. You can look forward to contrasting tax reform, Death Tax elimination and permanent tax cuts with the Democrats’ call for tax increases.
”Summary Findings from a Nationwide Survey of Voters”
The Tarrance Group is pleased to present Citizens for a Sound Economy with the findings from a nationwide survey of voter attitudes. All respondents interviewed in this study were part of a fully representative sample of N=1,006 registered voters, based on state-by-state voter registration figures. The margin of error for the sample is +/- 3.1 percent, and the interviews were conducted on July 20-22, 2003.
The recently passed economic package is a momentous step forward toward job creation and economic security. However, the story has not yet been told. With the media focus on the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq, along with the Congressional debate over the amount of tax relief and not the specifics of the plan, awareness of the plan is at 41 percent. However, once people hear the specifics of the plan, they overwhelmingly support it.
Four specific pieces of the plan were tested in our survey: 1) the child tax credit increase; 2) the fact the tax cuts will be made effective immediately; 3) the elimination of the marriage penalty tax; and 4) the fact that almost half of the dividend tax cut will go to seniors. The support levels for these four pieces are between 67 percent and 86 percent. And, after hearing the specific measures of the plan, 58 percent of voters say they and their families would directly benefit from it.
Support for these measures is so strong that these approval ratings have the effect of positively influencing both the President’s job performance on handling the economy and approval of his economic plan as a whole. Support for the four measures improves Bush’s job performance on handling the economy by seven points and approval for his economic plan by 17 points.
It should also be noted that by the time the poll was finished on July 22nd, 22 percent of voters had already noticed an increase in their paychecks. And, initial support for the economic plan among these voters is 11 points higher than the total sample of voters.
In looking at who is perceived as handling the economy, President Bush receives a rating 14-points higher than the Democrats in Congress. Voters initially give the President a 47 percent job approval rating on handling the economy, but give the Democrats in Congress a 33 percent rating. And, even Democratic voters themselves are unimpressed by their Party’s endeavors on handling the economy, as only 53 percent of Democrats approve of their Members’ job performance.
These survey highlights are taken from the following detailed, survey results:
”The Bush Factor”
Whether people agree or disagree with his style, people generally feel President Bush is getting the job done. Our survey shows that 69 percent of voters feel Bush is a strong leader (51 percent “strongly”). And, 58 percent feel he cares about people like themselves.
Furthermore, the President’s job approval rating is now at pre-Iraqi war levels with 56 percent approving of his job performance. It should be noted that President Bush continues to have historically high approval ratings for any President entering a re-election year.
In looking at who supports Bush, intensity is high among Republicans with 88 percent saying they approve of his job performance, and men continue to strongly support Bush with 60 percent (seven points higher than women). Married voters are very supportive of President Bush with 62 percent, and voters with children at home approve with 63 percent.
Thirty-nine percent of voters disapprove of his job performance. This rating is mainly driven by African American voters.
”Voters’ views on the two political parties”
When it comes to the two political parties, voters show a parallel viewpoint, as 49 percent have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, and 47 percent have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party.
Naturally, partisan voters take their respective sides, with 86 percent of Republicans having a favorable impression of the Republican Party, and 78 percent of Democrats having a favorable view of their Party.
Voters’ parallel view of the two parties carries over onto the generic Congressional ballot where voters are split between the two generic candidates. Forty-one percent choose the generic Republican candidate and 44 percent choose the Democrat. This gives the generic Democrat a slim three-point lead.
Similar to Bush, the generic Republican candidate performs well among married voters who give the Republican candidate an eight-point advantage. And, this advantage increases to 22-points among white married men. Voters with children living at home give the Republican candidate a seven-point lead — this lead increases to 20-points among dads.
In looking at support for the generic Democratic candidate, this candidate performs well among African American and Latino voters. Also, union households give the generic Democratic candidate a 25-point advantage and single voters give the Democrat a 27-point advantage.
”Bush versus the Democrats on handling the economy”
In looking at who is perceived as handling the economy, President Bush receives a rating 14-points higher than the Democrats in Congress. Voters initially give the President a 47 percent job approval rating on handling the economy, but only give the Democrats in Congress a 33 percent rating.
Fifty percent of voters disapprove of the way the Democrats in Congress are handling the economy. And, even Democratic voters themselves are unimpressed by their Party’s endeavors, as only 53 percent of Democrats approve of their Members’ job performance on the issue.
Voters ages 35 to 44 approve of Bush’s handling of the economy by 52 percent, and Hispanics are supportive with 51 percent — a rating quite comparable to that of white voters. Bush receives high support on his handling of the economy by white working men who approve with 56 percent.
The 46 percent who disapprove of his job performance on the economy are mostly Democrats by 75 percent and African Americans with 72 percent.
When voters are asked at the end of the survey to give their opinion on Bush’s handling of the economy, support rises to 54r percent approve. This is an improvement of seven-points from the initial question.
”Voters’ opinions on the economy”
The American public remains fairly optimistic about our nation’s economy. Nineteen percent of voters say the economy is good, while 44 percent say it is just fair and 36 percent say it is poor. These economic ratings have not changed since January of this year.
Voters who feel the economy is just fair tend to be white working men and women, voters ages 35 to 44, and moms. African Americans and voters ages 25 to 29 tend to drive the poor rating.
In looking to the future, 34 percent of voters feel they will be financially better off a year from now, and 51 percent say they will be financially the same — only 10 percent feel they will be worse off. This economic optimism is further seen with the fact that 19 percent of voters say they are financially better off than they were a year ago, and 56 percent say they are financially the same.
”Awareness and the economic plan”
The recently passed economic package is a momentous step forward toward job creation and economic security. However, the story has not yet been told. With the media focus on the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq, along with the Congressional debate over the amount of tax relief and not the specifics of the plan, awareness is at 41 percent. However, of those who are familiar with the plan, 54 percent say they know it “cuts taxes.”
Yet, once people hear the specifics of the plan, they show overwhelming support. The charts below show the breadth of support for certain portions of the economic plan by showing support levels among key subgroups. The approval level varies between 67 percent and 86 percent.
Over a majority of voters say they will directly benefit from the plan (58 percent). And, when asked to name the portion of the plan from which they will most benefit, 32 percent name the tax cuts will be made effective immediately meaning higher take home pay. Another 20 percent name the fact that half of the savings from the dividend tax cut would go to taxpayers’ age 65 and older. Nineteen percent name the increase in the child tax credit, and 13 percent name the elimination of the marriage penalty tax.
Support for the specific measures of the plan is so strong that the approval ratings have the effect of positively influencing both the President’s job performance on handling the economy and approval of his economic plan as a whole. Support for the four measures improves Bush’s job performance on handling the economy by seven points and approval for his economic plan by 17 points.
The internal data shows that 20 percent of voters switch to favor the plan after hearing specific portions of it. Women and voters under age 45 are the most likely to change their opinions once they have more knowledge about what the plan does for them and their families. The chart on the next page shows the movement between the first and second ballot tests of the economic plan.
Again, the recently passed economic package is a momentous step forward towards job creation and economic security. However, the story has not yet been told. With support levels between 67 percent and 86 percent for the specific measures of the plan, one can not help but sell the story to voters nationwide.
With 58 percent of voters saying they will directly benefit from the plan, and twenty-percent saying they have already noticed a difference in their paycheck, now is the time to tell the story. For, in the upcoming weeks and months, more people will notice higher take home pay, and families will receive their 400-dollar child tax credit checks. This makes for an opportune time to talk about the plan and its benefits, not only to our nation’s economy, but also to our nation’s families.
”’For more information, call Brenna Hapes at (202) 783-3870 or visit”’ http://www.cse.org ”’Citizens for a Sound Economy recruits, educates, trains, and mobilizes hundreds of thousands of volunteer activists to fight for less government, lower taxes, and more freedom. Founded in 1984, CSE has 280,000 members nationwide. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey is co-Chairman.”’