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The Republican Tax Bill is Really, Really Unpopular

The Republican Tax Bill is Really, Really Unpopular

There were multiple polls and articles out today about just how unpopular the Republican tax reform bill is. The answer? Really, really unpopular. In fact, if you thought President Trump’s approval numbers were bad, you’re in for a surprise:

Republicans Are Hustling To Pass A Tax Bill That No One Really Likes

By Ariel Edwards-Levy (HuffPost)

Takeaway: The proposal is among the least popular in modern American history, with support ranging between 24 and 44 percentage points, with the average somewhere near thirty percent. Read more.

Will Passing The Tax Bill Help The GOP In 2018? Probably Not.

By Harry Enten (FiveThirtyEight)

Takeaway: The arguments being used to justify the passage of the very unpopular Republican tax bill (see: above) are likely not as sound as their proponents would like the people to believe. Enten writes:

So, all else being equal, we’d assume that passing an unpopular tax bill wouldn’t help a party’s chances heading into an election. Congressional Republicans seem to disagree — arguing 1) that the party will be rewarded for passing something even if it’s unpopular, 2) that voters will like the bill more once they understand its benefits and 3) that the bill will rally the base. I’m skeptical of each of those points — passing tax reform may not hurt Republicans, but it’s difficult to see it helping — and here’s why:

Read more.

Public opposition to tax bill grows as vote approaches

By Jennifer Agiesta (CNN)

Takeaway: A CNN poll conducted by SSRS shows that opposition to the GOP tax plan has increased from 45% in November to 55% in December. Agiesta writes:

Two-thirds see the bill as doing more to benefit the wealthy than the middle class (66%, vs. 27% who say it'll do more to benefit the middle class) and almost four in 10 (37%) say that if the bill becomes law, their own family will be worse off. That's grown five points since early November. Just 21% say they'll be better off if the bill becomes law.

Read more.

More context:

The numbers above are very concerning on a variety of fronts and for a variety of Americans. First, as is obvious, the staggering unpopularity of the GOP tax bill should concern most people who believe that Congress should enact laws that represent the will of the people. Come next week — after the House and Senate agree on exactly similar texts of the bill, and President Trump signs on — that will be painfully false. This feeds into the second group that should be concerned by the bill: Republicans.

Since Republicans are passing the second most unpopular piece of congressional legislation in polling history, and by less than the party line, they ought to count on getting punished in the midterms next year. If taxes go up and people lose their healthcare they’re going to feel that in the polls. This is especially true for a party that is currently losing the House generic ballot by a 9-10% margin and has a president with an ever-declining 37% approval rating. If the GOP passes the bill (UPDATE Dec 20, 2017: they passed it), they should expect some harsh electoral reckoning in the 2018 midterm elections.

G. Elliott Morris avatar
About G. Elliott Morris
Elliott is a ("big") data journalist and data scientist who specializes in American politics, public opinion, and predictive analytics. He is a government, history, and computer science student at The University of Texas at Austin and worked previously for the Pew Research Center and Decision Desk HQ.
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