A majority of Americans don't think doing taxes is hard, even if they're not thrilled about it. Most Jews are celebrating Passover. And data journalism tells us everything we need to know about happy trees. This is HuffPollster for Monday, April 14, 2014.
ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS FILE TAXES AT THE LAST MINUTE - McClatchy-Marist: "While 76% of residents file their tax returns before the deadline, 24% wait until the very end to submit them. 'People who are expecting to get money back are more eager to file earlier,' says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. 'Those who have to write another check for their tax bill are more likely to wait until the last minute.' Regardless of when they submit their taxes, a majority of adults — 56% — thinks they pay about the right amount in federal income taxes. 42% believe they pay more than their fair share, and only 1% reports they tender less than their fair share. There is a partisan divide. Half of Republicans — 50% — think they pay more than they should while 48% say they write a check for about the right amount. Among Democrats, 40% report they pay the federal government more than their fair share, and 59% say they pay what they should." [McClatchy-Marist]
But another poll finds most think federal taxes are too high - Rebecca Rikfin: " As many Americans scramble to prepare their taxes ahead of the April 15 deadline, a majority, 52%, say the amount they have to pay in federal income tax is 'too high,' while 42% say it is 'about right.' The percentage who say their taxes are too high has hovered around 50% since 2003, although the current 52% is up from 46% two years ago. Americans' current views of the amount they pay in taxes represent a significant change from prior to 2003, when they were much more likely to say their taxes were too high….Six in 10 upper-income Americans -- those earning $75,000 or more annually -- believe their taxes are too high, and the majority consider what they pay unfair. By contrast, barely half of middle- and lower-income Americans think their taxes are too high, and the majority consider them fair." [Gallup]
Few find taxes difficult - Stephen Olemacher and Jennifer Agiesta: "Struggling to figure out your federal tax return? You're not alone, but you're in the minority. With the tax filing deadline looming next week, a majority of Americans say completing a federal tax return is easy, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. The findings defy conventional wisdom in Washington, where politicians have made careers out of promising a simpler tax system. In another blow to advocates of tax reform, almost no one is willing to pay higher taxes in exchange for a simpler code. Only 7 percent of those surveyed say they would be willing to pay more in federal taxes if the process of filling out a tax return were easier….58 percent in the AP-GfK poll say completing a federal tax return is easy. Thirty-eight percent call it hard." [AP]
MOST AMERICAN JEWS CELEBRATE PASSOVER - Pew Research: "The Jewish festival of Passover begins at sundown tonight, when many Jews will gather with family and friends for the first of two Seders. While the exact nature of a Seder varies, Jews traditionally read from a book known as the Haggadah – or 'telling' in Hebrew – and retell the story of the exodus from slavery in Egypt before eating a festive meal. A 2013 Pew Research survey of Jewish Americans found that attending a Seder is an extremely common practice for the group. While only 23% of U.S. Jews said they attend religious services at least monthly, 70% said they participated in a Seder last year." (This includes the writers of HuffPollster -- hence today’s somewhat newsletter.) [Pew Research]
-Jonathan Bernstein - "Eating > Not Eating MT @pewresearch: 70% of Jews participated in a Seder; 53% fasted all or part of Yom Kippur" [@jbplainblog]
-HuffPost's Paul Blumenthal - "Whether you're practicing or not you still want to eat a Hillel sandwich." [@paulblu]
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MONDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) leads Tom Cotton by 3 points in an Anzalone Liszt Grove (D) poll. [Politico]
-Chris Christie's rating in New Jersey for handling Hurricane Sandy recovery dropped 34 points since last year. [Quinnipiac]
-Nate Silver finds smaller gaps between parties on immigration than on other issues. 
-Online Americans are more likely than those offline to report a data breach. [Pew Research]
-Obama's judicial appointments are not much more liberal than those of other Democratic presidents. [WashPost]
-Foreign aid improves opinions of the U.S. [WashPost]
-Pollster Anna Greenberg (D) talks about key Democratic voting groups with Taegan Goddard. [Political Wire]
-This week's dates are all palindromes. [Twitter]
-Walt Hickey does a statistical analysis of the works of Bob Ross.