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September 21, 2010
3:40 PM


Teddy Davis, 202-210-0485,

New Poll of Battleground States: Americans Want Middle Class Tax Cuts, End to Bush-era Tax Giveaways to Rich

WASHINGTON - September 21 - The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) released a poll today showing that a strong majority of voters in midterm battleground states support proposals to extend tax cuts to the middle class, while allowing the Bush tax giveaways for those making more than $250,000 per year to expire.

The poll, which was conducted for SEIU by the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner research firm, shows that 62 percent of likely voters in seven key battleground states support a proposal which would: (1) make permanent the 2001 Bush tax cuts for families that make less than $250,000 a year; (2) allow the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 per year to expire; and (3) provide a series of additional tax cuts and credits to help middle class families pay for child care, save for their kids' college, or afford to buy a home.

Although some in Washington are proposing to temporarily extend the tax cuts for families making up to $1 million a year, the new poll shows that Democrats and Independents both favor letting the tax cuts expire at $250,000 per year.

By an 8-point margin (88 to 80 percent), Democrats favor letting the tax cuts expire at $250,000 per year rather than at $1 million per year. By a 2-point margin (56 to 54 percent), Independents prefer letting the tax cuts expire at $250,000 per year rather than at $1 million per year.

See the numbers HERE.

"We need to restore fairness to the economy," said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. "And that means no more Bush-era tax giveaways to the rich. If we are going to get this country on the right track, we need to create good jobs and put more money in people's pockets. This poll shows that Americans of all stripes agree that working families and small businesses need and deserve a tax cut."

Here are additional highlights from the poll:

A majority of voters think the Bush tax cuts either made no difference on the economy (26 percent) or hurt the economy (27 percent). Only 39 percent think that they helped the economy, and these respondents are primarily Republican voters (66 percent). A plurality - 46 percent - say that the Bush tax cuts made no impact on their personal financial situation. Again, only 39 percent said that the tax cuts were personally good for their families (61 percent Republicans).

Majorities of voters support letting tax cuts expire for the wealthy expire, whether at the $250,000 a year or $1 million a year level. A majority of voters (55 percent) indicate support for allowing tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest filers, including 40 percent who think that the tax cuts should be allowed to expire for the top earners and another 15 percent who say that all tax cuts should be allowed to expire. This holds true whether the cutoff is $1 million a year or $250,000 a year.

Voters overwhelmingly favor proposals that focus tax cuts on middle-class families and businesses, while allowing tax cuts for the wealthiest filers - at both the $250,000 a year and $1 million a year level - to expire. More than six-in-ten voters favor a proposal that makes permanent the middle-class tax cuts and provides those same people with a series of new tax cuts and credits, while allowing tax cuts on the upper-level filers to expire. The proposal garners broad support, regardless of whether the threshold for extending the tax cuts is set at $250,000 or $1 million a year.

Emphasizing that 97 percent of small businesses benefit from the middle class tax cut proposals trumps the argument that the tax plan raises taxes on small businesses and will cost jobs. A plurality of voters (49 percent) believe that the proposal will cut taxes for nearly all small businesses, compared to 33 percent who side with the Republican positioning. Democrats favor the "cuts taxes for 97 percent of small businesses" frame by a 67-21 percent margin; among Independents, the Democratic position produces a 12-point advantage over the Republican argument, 46-34 percent.

The SEIU poll ran from September 8-13, 2010, testing 400 likely voters in each of seven key states - California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin - for a total of 2,800 interviews.

The full sample of 2,800 voters is subject to a margin of error of +/- 1.8 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.

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