What the Q1 CNBC Data Says About Tax Reform

The CNBC First Quarter All-America Economic survey conducted earlier this month found 34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans think keeping U.S. jobs from going overseas should be a top priority for the administration. Individual tax cuts (25{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) were the second highest economic priority, ranking higher overall than reducing the deficit (19{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}). Cutting taxes for businesses was seen as a priority for just 11{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans surveyed, falling behind highly divisive priorities like repealing and replacing the ACA (16{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).


Top priorities


When we examined economic priorities for the administration by party, individual tax cuts are consistently the third highest. Keeping jobs in the U.S. is a top two priority across party identification, taking the top spot among Independents.  For Republicans, repealing and replacing the ACA (32{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) was seen as the top economic priority and among Democrats the top priority was funding infrastructure (38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).


top priorities - party


But 39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans say they’d rather see government give priority to reducing the deficit. Another 22{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say cutting income taxes should take higher priority and 28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say neither of these should be a priority when it comes to the federal budget. While Republicans and Democrats both prioritize the deficit over income tax cuts, Democrats are far more likely to see neither as a priority.


higher priority


Still the 39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans who prioritize deficit reduction over income tax cuts are as eager to save jobs and invest in infrastructure as they are to reduce the deficit. Among this group 32{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say deficit reduction is a top economic priority while 30{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say keeping jobs and 29{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say infrastructure is.


A Trump tax reform plan is seen as a top three priority across partisanship.  But even a plan that does not add to the deficit could be a tough sell. Here’s a list of things this data suggests to do when it comes to communicating and selling this plan to the American people:

  • Make keeping U.S. jobs from going overseas central to the rationale for a tax reform plan.
  • Emphasize the individual cuts more than the business tax cuts.
  • Show how the tax reform plan can be revenue neutral and not increase the deficit.
  • Consider other sweeteners, like infrastructure investment, to get buy-in from across the aisle.


Polling for CNBC is conducted by Republican pollster Micah Roberts from Public Opinion Strategies and Democratic pollster Jay Campbell from Hart Research Associates. This analysis is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of CNBC or Hart Research Associates.



Public Opinion Strategies