As Tax Season Nears, Americans Are Split on GOP Cuts

(CN) – Americans have mixed feelings along party lines about the impact of the new tax law on their families and the country as a whole, the Pew Research Center reported Wednesday, a month after President Donald Trump signed the bill.

Party affiliations and an understanding of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had the biggest impact on respondents’ expectations and approval of the law, according to the Pew study.

Based on a survey of 1,503 adults between Jan. 10-15, participants overall demonstrated a nearly-even split on how the tax law would affect their families.

Twenty-nine percent said that the effect would be “mostly positive,” 33 percent expected little effect and 27 percent expected a “mostly negative” effect.

However, respondents were slightly less optimistic about how the tax law would impact the country as a whole. Forty percent expected the law to have a mostly negative effect on the country overall, and 35 percent expected a positive effect.

Perhaps not surprisingly, party affiliations played a significant role in shaping opinions of the tax law, which was passed without Democratic support in Congress. Fifty-two percent of Republicans said they expect the law to have a positive effect on their families, and 42 percent of Democratic participants said it would have a negative effect.

Similarly, nearly three-quarters of Republican survey respondents said that the law would have a positive effect on the country overall at 71 percent, and 63 percent of Democrats said the opposite.

Respondents’ understanding of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was also an important factor for who supported or opposed it.

Those who said they understood the law (65 percent) demonstrated more support than opposition at 37 percent versus 28 percent. Those who said that they did not understand the law (35 percent) demonstrated more opposition at 27 percent versus 15 percent.

Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans said they understood the law, but a larger number Republicans said they comprehended it – 71 percent compared to 65 percent of Democrats surveyed by Pew.

Both Republicans who did and did not say they understood the law showed support for it, and Democrats were generally pessimistic about tax reform’s effect on them, whether they understood the law or not.

Eighty-one percent of Republicans who understood the law expected a positive impact on the country as a whole, and 73 percent of Democrats who understood the law expected a negative impact on the economy.

Race, education and age also affected views on the new law.

Black respondents were most opposed to the law with 54 percent strongly disapproving and 66 percent disapproving overall, while 45 percent of white Americans surveyed said they approve of the law, including 30 percent who strongly approve.

Post-graduates and those with a college degree demonstrated the strongest opposition at 65 and 58 percent, respectively. No education bracket demonstrated explicit support for the tax law -those with a high school diploma or less were evenly split between support and opposition at 39 percent.

Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 showed a 46 percent approval rate, according to Pew, and 44 percent of those 65 and older support the law, compared to 39 percent who oppose it.

Across income brackets, Americans who make more money are more receptive to the new tax law than those making less than $40,000 per year.

Respondents in the $75,000-$99,000 annual income bracket showed the most support – 50 percent of them approve of the law while 40 percent disapprove. Most in that group said the tax law would have a positive effect on their families and the country.

Only 22 percent of respondents making less than $40,000 per year said the law would have a positive effect on their families, and 30 percent said the same for the United States as a whole.

Pew also explored the intersection of party affiliations and income on the tax law, and Republican participants demonstrated significant positive inclinations toward the Act, especially those making $75,000 or more per year.

Seventy-seven percent of Republicans making more than $75,000 a year said the tax law would be good for the country.

Income level didn’t seem to have an impact on Democrats’ opinion on the tax law – 74 percent of Democrats making $75,000 or more said it will hurt the country, and 59 percent of Democrats making less than $75,000 said the same thing.

Many provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act come with an expiration date – personal and dependent exemptions, child tax credit increases, a new credit for non-child dependents and the standard deduction will only stay in place through 2025, while the new corporate tax rate of 20 percent will be permanent.

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