A majority of Americans support measures favored by President Joe Biden to substantially redistribute U.S. wealth, according to an Ipsos poll for Reuters released on Thursday, including tax hikes on the wealthy and a higher minimum wage.
The national opinion poll also found that Republican voters were divided over the “trickle-down economics” championed by their party’s leaders since President Ronald Reagan some 40 years ago.
In his speech to Congress on Wednesday night, Biden attacked trickle-down economics as an idea that has never worked. The poll was conducted after the speech.
The theory, which asserts that tax breaks and other benefits for corporations and the wealthy will benefit everyone else, has been fiercely debated since Reagan made it a centerpiece of his economic strategy in the 1980s.
A 2020 study by the London School of Economics of 50 years of data from 18 countries showed that the only significant effect of significant tax cuts to the rich was to increase income inequality with little benefit to unemployment or economic growth.
According to the Ipsos poll, 51% of adults agreed with the statement that “trickle-down economics have never worked in America,” while 26% disagreed.
Among Republicans, four in 10 agreed that it was a failed theory, while three in 10 disagreed. Among Democrats, seven in 10 agreed that trickle-down economics never worked, while two in 10 disagreed.
Overall, 73% said they approved of Biden’s economic message to Congress on Wednesday, according to the poll.
*69% of Americans supported requiring employers to give 12 weeks paid family and medical leave;
*65% supported making the first two years of community college free for everyone;
*65% supported tax hikes for the wealthy;
*64% supported increasing IRS audits and enforcement of wealthy tax dodgers;
*63% supported increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The responses were split along party lines, however. At least eight out of 10 Democrats supported each measure, compared with less than half of Republicans.
About 60% of Americans also said they found the scale and scope of Biden’s legislative proposals “historic.”
And 74% said the same about seeing the first female vice president, Kamala Harris, and the first female speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, standing behind Biden at Wednesday’s speech.
The Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,000 adults, including 290 Republicans and 360 Democrats. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 5 percentage points.
(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Heather Timmons and Howard Goller)
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