Brendan Nyhan | April 29, 2010
Topics: Barack Obama , misperception , Taxes
Earlier this year, I noted a CBSNews.com post showing that 24% of Americans thought President Obama had raised taxes for most Americans and 53% believed taxes had been kept the same. The numbers, which were drawn from a CBS/New York Times poll conducted February 5-10, were even worse among Tea Party supporters -- 44% thought taxes had been increased and 46% thought taxes were the same. In reality, Obama cut taxes for 95% of working families.
The latest CBS/New York Times poll, which was conducted April 5-12, asks the same question:
So far, do you think the Obama Administration has increased taxes for most Americans, decreased taxes for most Americans, or have they kept taxes about the same for most Americans?
The findings show that misperceptions about changes to income taxes under Obama have gotten worse. The percentage of respondents who think taxes have gone up under Obama has increased from 24% to 34% among the general public and from 44% to 64% among Tea Party supporters:
Update 4/29 1:26 PM: Per Gary Wagner's comment, I should clarify two points. First, my interpretation of the CBS/NYT question, which I think is a fair one, is that the correct response is that taxes have decreased. While some taxes have been increased, there has been a net decrease in federal taxes for most Americans under Obama. Also, some respondents may anticipate the likely increase in taxes for individuals making more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000 in 2011 as having already taken place, but this increase (a) has not happened, (b) is provided for under current law and is not the direct result of legislation endorsed by Obama (though he has declined to extend the Bush tax cuts in this income group), and (c) will not increase taxes for most Americans.