(CN) – Nearly three in five Americans oppose the current Republican tax-cut plan being hashed out in Congress, according to a national poll released Tuesday.
The Quinnipiac University poll, conducted Nov. 29 to Dec. 4, found 59 percent of voters disapprove of the tax-reform efforts. About 64 percent of those polled believe the tax cuts will benefit the rich the most. Only 24 percent believe it will benefit the middle class.
“The message voters are receiving is that the middle class will pay more and the rich will pay less,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
Despite Republican claims that the tax cuts will benefit the middle class and boost the economy, the Congressional Budget Office reported the plan as passed by the Senate will add $1 trillion to the national debt.
About 67 percent of Republicans polled say they support the tax cuts, compared to just 27 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats. Malloy said the results show just how polarized modern politics are.
Patrick Miller, assistant professor of political science at the University of Kansas, said he’s not surprised by those numbers.
“Politics have always been polarizing,” Miller said. “I can take you back to the start of scientific political polling in the 40s and 50s and show you the same thing. I think it’s just that now people are paying attention due to more media coverage of it.”
Miller said historical evidence suggests opposition to the tax-cut efforts may be a side effect of the president’s popularity: President Donald Trump’s approval rating continues to hover around 35 percent.
“Anytime you ask for an opinion on a political topic with an unpopular president, you’re bound to get opposition,” Miller said.
The changes also have some people worried, Miller said. As with any big change, there is a natural reluctance to support such measures.
“There’s a focus on the changes the bill would create,” Miller said. “There are different constituents looking at what this bill changes and the prospects for loss.”
Malloy pointed out the poll received a record number of responses from respondents who disapprove of Trump. Just over half said they feel embarrassed to have him as president.
“The current state of the presidency is deeply unpopular,” Malloy said. “He is not considered fit for the job by those polled two-to-one. We haven’t seen numbers like this with any other presidency.”
Congressional approval remains low as well, with just 12 percent of those polled approving of the way Congress is handling its job.
Senate Republicans approved a tax bill late Friday night in a move Democrats claimed was rushed and did not allow time for senators to read the bill before it was voted on.
House and Senate members are currently working on melding their respective bills for a final vote in both chambers.