During the campaign, President Obama was able to neutralize the traditional Republican advantage on taxes by vowing to cut taxes on 95 percent of Americans, and not raise them on those earning less than $200,000. In fact, some polls taken before the election even suggested the public trusted Obama more than McCain to not raise their taxes. But just over a year into his presidency, Obama losing the tax argument.
According to a Gallup poll released today, 63 percent of Americans expect to pay higher taxes in the next year. While 74 percent of those making over $75,000 expect their taxes to go up, 64 percent of those making between $30,000 and $74,999 still expect to pay more. And a even a majority of 53 percent of those earning under $30,000 expect to pay more.
There’s been a lot of debate over whether or not President Obama has violated his pledge, and I think there’s ample evidence, from the cigarette tax hike to the individual mandate tax, that he has. But putting the policy debate aside for the moment and looking at things from a purely political perspective, if this poll is any indication, it looks like Obama is losing the argument. Unless the White House can change this perception, Republicans are likely to have a lot more success this fall’s elections painting Democrats as tax hikers, than they did in 2006 or 2008.