CUT AND RAISE

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Americans approved of President Bush's 2001 tax cut proposal both before and after it passed Congress, though public opinion became slightly less favorable by August 2001. In a February 2001 Zogby/Reuters poll, people were asked whether they favored the bill's passage or not. The question was asked in a straightforward manner, without a description of the bill or any suggestion as to the impact of its passage (“President Bush has proposed a $1.6 trillion tax cut. Do you favor or oppose such a cut?�) At that time, a slight majority (51 percent) voiced approval of the bill. But in a Gallup poll taken months later, after the bill had been passed, fewer Americans seemed happy with the plan: only 36 percent said that it would be good for the country; more Americans (44 percent) felt it would not make much of a difference.

Both polls show a split according to political affiliation. In the August 2001 Gallup poll, while 36 percent of Americans favored the recently passed tax bill, 32 percent of Liberals said the tax cut would be bad for the country, compared with 23 percent of Liberals who were in favor. Conservatives held the opposite opinion to a stronger degree: 57 percent said it would be a good thing for America, compared with only 7 percent who were opposed. Registered Democrats offered less consistent opposition: only 23 percent were opposed to the tax bill, compared with the 26 percent who were in favor.

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