by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden promised he would not raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 a year to help pay for his agenda, but recent polling suggests voters remain skeptical.
Suspicions that Biden may raise taxes on a larger swathe of the electorate open a lane of attack as the cost of sweeping new federal spending comes due.
In an August survey by Scott Rasmussen and RMG Research, 61% of registered voters said they believed the Biden administration would raise taxes on middle-class Americans, even as they were reminded of the president’s pledge. Twenty-seven percent said they believed a tax increase was unlikely, while 12% said they were unsure.
Most Republicans (83%) said they thought tax hikes were on the horizon, and nearly half of Democrats agreed. Voters who identified with Biden’s party were split, with 47% saying a tax increase was likely and 44% saying it was not. Forty-four percent of independents said they expected tax increases, compared to 25% who did not.
The nationwide poll surveyed 1,200 people between Aug. 4-9.
The White House has said repeatedly that Democrats’ spending on infrastructure and families is popular with voters across the political aisle and will spur economic growth, seeking to allay concerns over inflationary pressures and the high cost.
After the Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure package with $550 billion in new spending — a 69-30 vote marking a victory for Biden — Democrats began turning attention to a multi-trillion budget plan that promises to invest in a historic expansion of social programs. No Republicans are expected to back the reconciliation package, which is expected to total more than $3.5 trillion and cannot be filibustered in the Senate. On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeated her pledge to hold off on passing the Senate bipartisan infrastructure plan in the House until the Senate sends the reconciliation package through.