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Poll: Public Wary on Tax Cut

Monday, September 10, 2001

Washington Post - ABC News Poll

This Washington Post - ABC News poll was conducted by telephone September 6-9, 2001, among a national sample of 1009 randomly selected adults. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Fieldwork by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, PA.

*= less than 0.5 percent

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?

            ---------Approve---------   --------Disapprove--------    No 
            NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat    opin.
9/9/01      55      26        29        41      22        20           3
8/12/01     61      28        33        31      17        14           8
7/30/01     59      28        30        38      22        17           3
6/3/01      55      27        28        40      22        18           6
4/22/01     63      33        30        32      16        16           5
3/25/01     58      NA        NA        33      NA        NA           8
2/25/01     55      NA        NA        23      NA        NA          22

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling...?

9/9/01

Summary Table:

                                Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
a. The economy                    48          48             4
b. International affairs          53          40             7
c. Environmental issues           50          44             6
d. Education                      61          32             7
e. The energy situation           42          51             7
f. Patients' rights in the
   health care system             49          37            14
g. Social Security                41          50             9
h. The federal budget             46          48             6
i. The cost of prescription                               
   drugs                          32          56            12
j. Defense and the military
   budget                         53          34            13

Trend:

a. The economy

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      48          48             4
7/30/01     52          45             3
6/3/01      53          41             6
4/22/01     55          38             7
3/25/01     50          42             8

b. International affairs

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      53          40             7
7/30/01     56          38             6
6/3/01      58          33             9
4/22/01     62          31             7
3/25/01     56          31            13

c. Environmental issues

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      50          44             6
7/30/01     45          49             6
6/3/01      41          50             9
4/22/01     47          41            12
3/25/01     46          41            13

d. Education

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      61          32             7
7/30/01     63          31             5
6/3/01      57          35             8
4/22/01     60          28            12

e. The energy situation

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      42          51             7
7/30/01     43          53             5
6/3/01      37          58             5
5/13/01     39          43            18

f. Patients' rights in the health care system

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      49          37            14
7/30/01     48          44             9
6/3/01      40          39            21

g. Social Security

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      41          50             9
7/30/01     46          48             6
6/3/01      46          40            14

h. The federal budget

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      46          48             6
7/30/01     53          42             5

i. The cost of prescription drugs

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      32          56            12
7/30/01     40          51             9

j. Defense and the military budget

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
9/9/01      53          34            13 
7/30/01     58          34             7

3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is doing its job?

            Approve     Disapprove     No opinion
9/9/01        45           48              7
7/30/01       48           48              4
4/22/01       58           33              8
10/31/99      42           53              6
9/2/99        46           47              7
6/6/99        48           46              6
3/14/99       44           49              7
2/14/99       46           50              4    
12/20/98      44           51              5    
12/19/98      45           50              5    
12/13/98      49           46              5    
11/7/98       41           55              4    
11/1/98       49           47              5    
11/1/98 LV    47           51              2    
10/25/98      45           44             11    
10/25/98 LV   45           48              7    
10/18/98      46           45              8    
10/18/98 LV   45           49              5    
9/28/98       52           44              4    
9/28/98 LV    52           46              2 
8/21/98       55           39              6          
7/12/98       46           44             11          
5/12/98       45           45              9          
4/4/98        47           45              8          
1/31/98       55           35             10          
1/30/98       55           35             10          
1/25/98       56           37              8          
1/24/98       55           38              7          
1/19/98       47           49              5          
10/13/97      36           57              7          
8/27/97       39           54              7          
7/8/97        40           53              6          
4/24/97       40           53              7          
3/9/97        35           60              5          
8/5/96        42           52              7          
6/30/96       35           58              7          
5/22/96       35           60              5          
3/10/96       30           64              6          
1/7/96        31           65              5          
11/19/95      27           68              5          
10/1/95       32           65              3 
7/17/95       34           63              3         
3/19/95       39           56              5         
1/29/95       42           52              6         
10/31/94      21           72              8         
10/23/94      18           78              4         
9/11/94       24           70              5         
6/26/94       34           61              5         
3/27/94       35           62              3         
2/27/94       32           64              4         
1/23/94       29           60             11         
11/14/93      28           66              6         
8/8/93        33           64              3         
4/26/93       30           69              2         
1/17/93       29           66              6         
4/9/92        17           78              5         
3/18/92       19           76              5         
3/8/92        22           73              6         
2/2/92        32           64              4         
12/15/91      35           59              6         
10/21/91      45           50              5         
6/2/91        49           46              5 
10/14/90      34           63              3                  
2/4/90        41           55              4                  
1/16/90       39           55              6                  
8/21/89       42           53              5                  
5/23/89       54           44              2                  
2/14/89       53           44              3                  
1/23/88*      43           53              4                  
6/1/87*       56           40              4                  
6/22/85*      54           37              9                  
5/83*         33           43             24                  
6/81*         38           40             22                  
6/79*         19           61             20                  
9/78*         29           49             22                  
6/77*         34           42             24                  
6/75*         29           54             17                  
8/74*         48           35             17                  
*Gallup 

4. Would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor?

              ----Excellent/Good-----    -----Not so good/Poor-----    No  
              NET   Excellent    Good    NET    Not so good    Poor    op.
9/9/01         33        1        32      66        47          19      *
7/30/01        50        3        46      50        39          12      *
4/22/01        50        3        47      50        40           9      *
1/15/01        70       10        59      29        24           6      1 
10/27/00 LV    86       24        61      14        11           3      * 
10/26/00 LV    86       24        61      14        11           3      * 
6/11/00        74       17        57      26        19           6      *  
2/27/00        80       25        55      20        14           5      *  
10/31/99       74       18        56      26        18           7      1  
9/2/99         76       19        57      23        16           6      1  
3/14/99        80       22        58      19        15           4      1  
11/1/98        73       12        61      26        21           5      1  
11/1/98  LV    78       13        65      22        19           3      *  
10/13/97       61       12        49      39        27          11      *
Call for full trend.

5. As you may know, Bush and the Congress have enacted a tax cut of nearly one-point-four trillion dollars over the next 10 years. So far, do you think this tax cut is helping the economy, hurting the economy, or not making much difference?

                                       No          No
           Helping     Hurting     difference     opin.
9/9/01       18          21            59           2

Compare to:

As you may know, Congress has approved a tax cut of nearly one-point- four trillion dollars over the next 10 years. In general, do you think this tax cut will be good for the economy, bad for the economy, or won't it make much difference?

                                 No          No
            Good     Bad     difference     opin.
7/30/01      37       20         42           1
6/3/01       35       13         50           3

6. Just your best guess, do you think the economy is heading into a recession, or not?

            Yes     No     No opin.  
9/9/01      53      44        4
7/30/01     52      46        2
4/22/01     45      50        5
3/25/01     58      37        5
1/15/01     55      42        3

7. Do you think the country should go in the direction (Bush wants to lead it), go in the direction (the Democrats in Congress want to lead it), or what?

                              Other   Neither   No dif.    No
            Bush   Democrats   (vol.)   (vol.)   (vol.)   opin.
9/9/01       41       42         4        6        1       5
7/30/01      42       43         4        6        3       3
6/3/01       40       42         5        7        3       3
4/22/01      46       36         4        6        3       4

8. Who do you trust to do a better job handling... (Bush) or (the Democrats in Congress)?

9/9/01

Summary Table:

                                             Both    Neither    No
                             Bush    Dems   (vol.)   (vol.)    opin.
a. The economy                44      50      1        3         2
b. International affairs      48      44      2        2         5
c. Environmental issues       41      52      1        3         4
d. Education                  55      36      1        3         6
e. The energy situation       39      49      1        5         5
f. Patients' rights in the
   health care system         41      48      1        5         6
g. Social Security            41      50      1        4         4
h. The federal budget         46      46      1        4         4
i. The cost of prescription   
   drugs                      36      50      1        5         8
j. Defense and the military   
   budget                     47      43      1        2         7

Trend:

a. The economy

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     44       50         1         3        2
7/30/01    47       46         1         4        1
6/3/01     44       46         2         6        2

b. International affairs

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     48       44         2         2        5
7/30/01    51       42         1         3        3
6/3/01     47       40         3         7        4

c. Environmental issues

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     41       52         1         3        4
7/30/01    37       54         1         5        3
6/3/01     35       54         2         5        4

d. Education

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     55       36         1         3        6
7/30/01    50       42         2         4        2
6/3/01     43       43         1         7        6

e. The energy situation

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     39       49         1         5        5
7/30/01    41       49         1         6        3
6/3/01     36       52         1         5        6

f. Patients' rights in the health care system

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     41       48         1         5        6
7/30/01    41       49         1         5        4
6/3/01     37       52         *         3        7

g. Social Security

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     41       50         1         4        4
7/30/01    42       51         1         5        2
6/3/01     38       52         1         5        3

h. The federal budget

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     46       46         1         4        4
7/30/01    47       44         2         5        2

i. The cost of prescription drugs

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     36       50         1         5        8
7/30/01    39       50         1         7        3

j. Defense and the military budget

                             Both     Neither    No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)    (vol.)    opin.
9/9/01     47       43         1         2        7
7/30/01    53       40         1         4        3

9. Recent estimates say the federal budget surplus is much lower than earlier forecasts. Does this worry you a great deal, a good amount, just some, or hardly any?

           Great     Good      Just     Hardly     No
           deal     amount     some      any      opin.
9/9/01      20        13        35        30        2

10. For each item I name, please tell me how much responsibility it bears for the lower surplus - a great deal, a good amount, just some or hardly any.

9/9/01

Summary Table:

                          Great     Good      Just     Hardly     No
                          deal     amount     some      any      opin.
a. George W. Bush          28        20        25        23        3
b. The Republicans in    
   Congress                21        23        31        19        5
c. The Democrats in 
   Congress                21        22        33        20        4
d. The tax cut passed 
   by Congress and 
   signed by Bush          30        20        26        20        4
e. The slowing national 
   economy                 28        24        25        18        5

11. Of these two, who do you think is more responsible for the lower surplus - (Bush) or (the Democrats in Congress)?

                             Both       No
          Bush     Dems     (vol.)     opin.
9/9/01     52       38         5         6

12. There are a few ways the government could handle the shrinking surplus. For each, please tell me if you support or oppose it.

9/9/01

Summary Table:

                                   ------Support------   ------Oppose-------    No 
                                   NET   Strng   Smwht   NET   Strng   Smwht   opin.
a. Taking surplus money from 
   the Social Security program
   and spending it on other 
   programs                         7       2       5    92      81      11      1
b. Reducing the size of the 
   tax cut                         57      30      27    40      22      18      3
c. Dropping plans to increase 
   spending on education           27      16      11    71      53      19      1
d. Dropping plans to improve 
   prescription drug benefits 
   for senior citizens             31      20      11    67      50      17      1
e. Dropping plans to increase 
   military spending               46      21      25    53      32      22      1

13. If in order to keep the budget balanced it came down to (cutting spending for social programs), (cutting spending for the military) or reducing the tax cut), which would be your first choice?

          Cut spending,     Cut spending,     Reduce       No
          social prog.        military        tax cut     opin. 
9/9/01         25                31             43          2

Compare to:

As you may know, Congress and the president face hard choices this year on how to reduce the federal budget deficit. If in order to help reduce the budget deficit it came down to cutting spending for social programs, cutting spending for the military or raising taxes, which would be your first choice?

          Cut spending,     Cut spending,     Raising      No
          social prog.        military         taxes      opin. 
8/21/89        24                53             20          3
1/16/89        23                49             25          4
11/27/88       25                39             28          8

Financial experts say the government now has the largest federal budget deficit in history. If in order to help reduce the budget deficit it came down to a choice of cutting spending for social programs, cutting spending for the military or raising taxes, which would be your first choice?

          Cut spending,     Cut spending,     Raising      No
          social prog.        military         taxes      opin. 
10/26/87       24                47             28          1


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