POLITICS

Two-Thirds Of Americans Think The Tax System Favors The Rich

That doesn't mean wealthier people feel they're getting a fair shake.

Two-thirds of all Americans think the country's tax system favors the wealthy, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey.

Sixty-seven percent say the system is biased toward the rich, while a combined 17 percent think it favors the middle class or poor. Just 4 percent believe everyone is treated equally.

That perception crosses income lines, with a strong majority in every age bracket believing that wealthy Americans have the advantage. It's also held by both 82 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents. Republicans are less convinced -- while 47 percent believe the tax system favors the wealthy, 29 percent think it does more to help the poor.

Americans are also in relative agreement about how the system should work. Sixty percent want it to treat everyone equally, while a combined 34 percent want it to favor the middle class or poor. A rather symbolic 1 percent want to see the wealthy benefit.

But the public is more divided about what share of the tax burden currently falls on them. A 44 percent plurality say they pay about the right amount in taxes, while 39 percent feel they pay too much. Just 3 percent think they're getting off too easy.

Some of the divide falls along party lines. Forty-seven percent of Republicans, compared with just 34 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of independents, think they pay more than their fair share of taxes.

But the real gap has to do with income level. Fifty-eight percent of Americans in households making $100,000 a year or more, and just over half making between $50,000 and $100,000, say they pay more than their fair share of taxes. Just 28 percent making less than $50,000 say the same.

People making more than $100,000 a year may say they think the system favors the rich, but they don't necessarily consider themselves among that group. In a HuffPost/YouGov survey taken last June, 88 percent of the public described themselves as belonging to some variation of the middle class. On average, those making more than $80,000 a year defined "middle class" as extending up to a $125,000 annual salary.

For some of the public -- especially those in the highest income bracket -- taxes will continue to be an issue beyond Monday's filing deadline. Thirty-six percent, including half of those in households making above $100,000, say the issue will be very important when they vote for president this year.

Neither party, however, currently holds an advantage on dealing with taxes. While 33 percent say the Republican Party would be best at handling America's tax system, an equal 33 percent prefer the Democratic Party, with the remaining third unsure.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted April 2-4 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. 

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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