Taxing The Rich Still Popular With American Public

11/28/2012 08:37 am ET | Updated Nov 28, 2012

Taxing the rich remains a popular policy with the American people, according to a new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News.

Sixty percent of poll respondents said they supported higher taxes on annual incomes above $250,000, with 37 percent opposed.

The Post-ABC findings echo the results of previous polls asking Americans whether they supported higher taxes on the wealthy. The same percentage of Americans favored higher taxes on the wealthy or all taxpayers when interviewed in exit polls on Nov. 6. And earlier this year, a plurality of Americans said higher taxes on the wealthy would help the economy and make the tax code fairer.

Policymakers in Washington are locked in a debate over whether to increase the top marginal tax rate on incomes above $250,000, with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats insisting the rate return to 39 percent and Republicans saying it should stay at 35 percent. It's the central disagreement in negotiations to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff," the moment at the end of the year when big spending cuts are scheduled to take effect and big tax cuts for Americans of all income brackets are scheduled to expire.

On Tuesday, a top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives broke ranks and said the GOP should go along with President Obama's plan to preserve tax cuts just for incomes below $250,000. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told Politico, "I think we ought to take the 98 percent deal right now." (Two percent of Americans earn more than $250,000 annually.)

Despite the popularity of the plan, a Republican aide told HuffPost that House leadership remained committed to keeping all tax rates low and increasing revenue by closing loopholes and limiting deductions.

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