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Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU. 9/20-23. Likely voters. MoE ±2.8% (9/13-16 results):

Q: If the candidates for President this fall were Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, who would you vote for?

Barack Obama: 50 (50)
Mitt Romney: 45 (46)
Undecided: 5 (4)

What's interesting about Obama's performance this week is that Romney's favorability rating actually clocked in at the best score we've ever seen in our weekly polling, with 46% of respondents viewing him favorably to 48% negatively. That's not much worse than Obama's own 50-47 mark, yet the POTUS's lead in the head-to-heads remains firm.

As for our topical questions, well, you won't be surprised that no one agrees with Mitt Romney when he said this:

"No one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is (to) keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers," Romney told host George Stephanopoulos.

"Is $100,000 middle income?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less," Romney responded.

Survey says:
Q: What amount of annual income for a family would you define as middle-income: $50-100,000 a year, $100-150,000 a year, $150-200,000 a year, $200-250,000 a year, or $250-300,000 a year?

$50-100K: 64
$100-150K: 27
$150-200K: 6
$200-250K: 1
$250-300K: 1
Not sure: 2

However, many more people agree with him on another topic:
Q: Do you agree or disagree with Mitt Romney that 47% of Americans are dependent on government and believe that they are victims?

Agree: 41
Disagree: 52
Not sure: 7

I suspect we'd have gotten a different (and more hostile) set of responses if we'd left Romney's name out of this, as doing so provides a partisan "cue": Democrats know to say they disagree and Republicans know to say they agree, just based on who the speaker is. You can check out the crosstabs to see how evenly this question divides based on party ID. But it tilts against Romney nevertheless because independents are turned off by his remarks, 53-37.
Q: Did you pay any federal income taxes last year, or not?

Paid income taxes: 87
Did not: 11
Not sure: 2

As for the "meat" of Romney's charge, most voters must be wondering who that 47% is. I'll bet a lot of people answered this question in the affirmative because even if you aren't subject to the income tax, federal payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare sure as hell feel like taxes on your income. And I'm sure some other folks might have been worried whether we were asking if they were delinquent on their taxes, or whether they'd simply filed a return at all, and wanted to make sure they said "yes." But regardless of the reasons, Romney's conception of this "47%" doesn't seem to have a lot of resonance.

P.S. As always, you can access our complete polling archive via our Weekly Trends page.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 04:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That 87% is actually the problem (7+ / 0-)

    The 47% disinformation is designed to pit citizen against citizen; that's the whole point of the Romney strategy. But since most people, including people in Romney's big category, don't believe they are moochers, they are willing still to believe other people are moochers taking from them. It's the politics of class division, and it's pitting the middle class not against the rich but against themselves or a mythical gigantic poverty class that's leeching off the middle class.

    Do NOT dismiss the GOP as being out of touch with reality just because they are. The economic fairness argument needs to be pressed home.

    Reagan and Bush II got elected to two terms basically lying or denying what they'd been doing to the middle class.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:08:19 AM PDT

    •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GWinkler, Kimbeaux

      Thanks, I was just about to make the same point. Romney's "47%" comments are a huge dog whistle to the conservative, get-their-news-from-Fox-and-Rush crowd. They've heard "47%" before -- most notably in the Fox business news guy's attempt to counter Occupy's "we are the 99%, they are the 1%" slogan with "we are the 53%, they are the 47%."

      Since they all (including, evidently, those on Social Security benefits) believe they are paying income tax, that means they know that "the 47%" isn't "us" -- which means it must be "them". And "we" all know who "they" are -- please don't spell it out!

    •  Why "47%" could work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Publius Cornelius Tacitus

      One would think only 53% of the population would have a chance to agree with conservatives about the mooching 47%.  But since 87% think they belong in the 53%, it really is a clever way to conquer and divide.

      Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be actually working outside of the Tea Party.

      Come to think of it, that 34% that don't pay income tax but think they do probably is the Tea Party.

  •  Do you pay FIT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whittx, GWinkler

    I am sure a lot people file their tax returns and get a tax return that zeros out the tax liability.  They think that because they had taxes withheld from their pay check that they "paid taxes" and are not deadbeats, not realizing that they got it all back.

  •  I'm liking what I'm seeing (0+ / 0-)

    The narrow party gap is gone, and the generic ballot just puts us in a position to take back the House.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:11:17 AM PDT

  •  No surprise: looks bad for Mitt, and... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, GOPGO2H3LL, askew

    ...check out new wapo poll of FL and OH:

    OH: O+8
    FL: O+4

    Hey Mitt Romney : You're an obnoxious prick.

    by porktacos on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:12:26 AM PDT

  •  WaPo: Ohio Obama 52- Romney 44 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Davidsfr, GOPGO2H3LL, askew, abgin, zekeaz

    Florida Obama 51 - Romney 47


  •  Many of those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the 47% are probably younger folks that are making very little while in school or at their first jobs. They are paying the SS and Medicare taxes all while the GOP is trying to make sure they never actually get any benefit from paying it. They are paying to keep the current recipients paid for and being called names while doing it. Stay classy GOP.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:32:20 AM PDT

  •  Why did President Obama choose the $250,000.. (0+ / 0-)

    threshold for not raising taxes?  What did he base that on?

  •  87% paid federal taxes? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kristina40, coppercelt, GOPGO2H3LL

    No, despite what they believe, this is not true. Just because you file a 1040 form on or before April 15th, this does not mean that you paid income taxes for that year. The process rolls SS and medicare taxes, unemployment insurance tax, and even to a certain extent state owed taxes and deductions for children reared and sales tax paid, all into one big ball, and chews on it for a bit before the IRS spits it out and gives the taxpayer a figure to pay or a refund, whichever.

    The conservative talking point is of course, that none of these other taxes are of any importance: only income tax counts. First this is silly because dollars taken by the IRS affect your daily budget the same way whether they go for income tax or SS tax or whatever. And seconly it's possible in the political arena only because more than half the people, including the millions of low-income Republicans truly believe they've paid income taxes when they haven't at all.

    It's Republican-speak by which they are saying that low-income citizens particulary with darker skin tones do not pay enough income tax. And like all  things Republican-speak, what they're saying isn't what they mean at all. What they mean is that rich Republicans pay far too much in income tax, which error needs to be fixed immediately.

  •  I don't get why there would be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tuma, GWinkler

    "higher ratings for Romney". What?? Why?? How??
    It makes no sense to me.

    "The past is never dead. It's not even past". Faulkner.

    by mchestnutjr on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:37:58 AM PDT

    •  I only could come up with (0+ / 0-)

      the sympathy factor. People are starting to feel sorry for him that he is getting beat up for his crazy, stupid statements.

      Kind of like, "come on don't be so hard on him. He has nice hair."

  •  Huh? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, xsonogall
    What's interesting about Obama's performance this week is that Romney's favorability rating actually clocked in at the best score we've ever seen in our weekly polling, with 46% of respondents viewing him favorably to 48% negatively.
    Why on earth would Mittens' favorability go up after the PR disasters of the past two weeks?

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:41:48 AM PDT

    •  People feeling sorry for him? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I know I do, and am inclined to feel -- I guess you'd term in "less negative," or at least, not as intent on kicking him, now that he's down!

      The braying sheep on my TV screen make this boy shout -- make this boy scream -- I'm going underground...

      by jamfan on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:45:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  At least we are aspirational. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Median family income in 2010 was $50,233, yet the survey started at 50K. It's not surprising that respondents are wildly aspirational in what they feel is "middle" income.

    This grand misconception about income in the US makes talking about taxes nigh impossible. Add in the fact that both sides act like 250K is "middle" income, when in reality it puts you in the top  1.5% of households, means we are doomed to failure re: taxes.

    One flower is made of the whole cosmos. - Thich Nhat Hahn

    by Espumoso on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:44:43 AM PDT

  •  People with lower incomes pay more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in state and local taxes, while those who have higher incomes pay more in federal taxes.  When you look at all taxes together, the effective rates are only a little lower for lower income folks, even if they pay NO federal income taxes.

    Also, I think the results in a poll like this would be vastly different if people were asked if they thought people were freeloaders if:

    1.  They are college students working on the side.
    2.  They are retired on Social Security.
    3.  They are serving in the military.
    4.  They get social security disability.
    5.  They get social security survivors benefits.
    6.  They are the working poor.

    Etc. etc.

  •  Mitt Romney paid NO social security taxes on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GOPGO2H3LL, Kimbeaux, sacrelicious

    unearned income.  Most, if not all his income in 2011 was unearned income.

    But just for the same of illustration, let's say that he paid the payroll taxes for self-employed individuals anyway.  That's 13.3% (10.4% for social security, 2.9% for medicare), assessed on the first $110,100 of his earnings.  That would come to $14,643.30.

    Someone check my math, but wouldn't that have been about
    .007% of his $21 million dollar income.

    IF he had paid it.

    Now, who's the freeloader again, Mitt?

    Our ears hear symphonies through wireless headsets, but our knuckles still drag the ground.

    by ZedMont on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 06:35:28 AM PDT

  •  Love that 50% number (3+ / 0-)

    Obama is starting to hit that number in a bunch of national and swing state polls with some regularity.  Great sign.

  •  Payroll income taxes not only feel like ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... income taxes, they actually are income taxes.

    They are not "personal income taxes", but that's a naming question, not a reality question.

    Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

    by BruceMcF on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:30:50 AM PDT

  •  Polls don't matter if the votes aren't counted!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    The race is now narrowing to battleground states like Florida, precisely where the GOP is most likely to win by voter suppression, voter intimidation, computerized vote-count fraud, discarding ballots in heavily Democratic districts, ballot-stuffing, you name it.

    That is what the real battle is now. Obama has proven that Romney is toast. Now we have to ensure that all possible steps are made to allow votes to be cast and counted, and hopefully to catch Karl Rove in the act so we can finally throw his sorry ass in jail!

  •  PPP still has Romney at 19% of the AA vote and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GOPGO2H3LL, askew, sacrelicious

    and over 30% of the Latino vote.  Neither result is very likely.  PPP does have Romney up among white voters by 6 points which is a bit narrower than other polls.   These internals need a bit of work.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 09:19:56 AM PDT

  •  Middle-income (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm not a fan of the question on middle-income.  It seems the question should ask what the maximum income is to still qualify as middle-income, not define the entire range.  Worse still, the statistically accurate middle-income range, centered on $50,000, isn't one of the provided answers.

    •  Yes, bad question (0+ / 0-)

      When you can't come up with an answer that you would pick, it is a bad question. I looked at it and thought "I would have to skip that one." The answers aren't mutually exclusive. Can't I think that 50K+ and 100K+ are middle income? Why do I have to chose only one category? Plus middle income in CA is very different than middle income in Arkansas.

  •  47% meme also drives a GOP "53%" meme /nt (0+ / 0-)

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 12:03:59 PM PDT

  •  I'm still undecided (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Undecided about how big of a humiliation this election will be for Lord Romney of the Ill Manner and his wife Lady Ann of Rafalca.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 12:05:22 PM PDT

  •  What % Pay Withholding That's All Refunded (0+ / 0-)

    later? I'd imagine this accounts for many of the people who think they're paying income taxes.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 12:10:55 PM PDT

  •  Barring a sudden, complete economic meltdown, (0+ / 0-)

    show of hands:

    Who here believes that Romney can turn around all this momentum and all this positive polling over months for Obama in a ninety-minute debate, even if Romney comes across as a second Jesus?

    "To hunt a species to extinction is not logical."--Spock, in Star Trek IV.

    by Wildthumb on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 12:12:30 PM PDT

  •  So you're saying it's all tied up then ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... oh wait, I'm wearing my Gallup Goggles. [Takes off Gallup Goggles] Oh! I see, that's a small but clear lead.

    Never mind.

    I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace. - Thomas Paine

    by ManOutOfTime on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 12:13:44 PM PDT

  •  What really jumps out at me is that 55-41 lead (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for Obama in the swing state subset.  That sounds to good to be true, and it probably is, but the fact remains that Obama is killing in the battlegrounds.  

    I thought that subset might have a huge margin of error, but as it turns out, it's 456 voters, or a 4.6% MoE, so not that bad.

  •  Pour it on (0+ / 0-)

    Obama has built a bit of a lead for himself and for Democrats all over.  Romney & Ryan helped, but this is really about Obama.

    The president has to continue to play the role of being presidential, kind of above it all.  But I'd like to see more fire and brimstone from Democrats everywhere else.  

    The Republicans and their policies have been bad for nearly all Americans.  This needs to be said over and over to penetrate the 'both sides do it' bullshit.

  •  Sorry, but these PPP numbers are ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

    They've got 19% of African American voters favoring Romney. Right. Sure.

    32% of Hispanics favoring Romney.

    31% of union households. Really? in Michigan or Ohio almost one-third of union members support the guy who wanted the auto manufacturers to go belly-up?

    75% of Native Americans favoring Romney (who knew that so many Native Americans were Mormon?)

  •  46% of people like Romney? WTF? (0+ / 0-)

    GTFO. Nobody I know likes the guy. Even Republicans.

    This actually makes me unhappy. How someone can mess up so badly in the past two weeks, someone who has the charisma of foot fungus, and still have close to half the people like him is just insane.

    "If these Republicans can't stand up to Rush, how can they stand up to the Iranians?" - Redmond Barry

    by xsonogall on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 12:54:30 PM PDT

  •  Defining middleclass (0+ / 0-)

    For me, the income of middle class is wider than the options given because there's factor of geography and family size at play here. So for me middle class falls anywhere between 50K - 250,000K.

  •  WTF is right, until you consider (0+ / 0-)

    that the President of the United States is black and has a scary Mooslim-sounding name. If he was a white guy with the name of Joe Smith, but with the exact same legislative and political record otherwise (not to mention resume), he'd be up by another 10 points.

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