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Gallup Poll: 74 Percent of Americans Like Idea of Federal Tax Cut

Aired September 18, 2000 - 1:31 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We appear to have reached the stage of the race where the two main candidates are trying to outdo each other with details. Both men are armed with policy books, and now Gore has even appropriated one of Bush's slogans, "Real Plans for Real People," in a Web site that seeks to counter the Republican's policy proposals. Some of the details most at issue concern each candidate's plans for tax cuts.

And joining us now to tell us where the public stands is Frank Newport at the Gallup studios in Princeton, New Jersey.

What do we know, Frank?

FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL EDITOR IN CHIEF: Well, Lou, there are some pluses for both candidates when we asked the public about tax cuts. Let's show you what Americans say. First of all, generically speaking, generally speaking, everybody likes the idea of a tax cut -- not quite everybody, but the majority clearly. All the way back to 1977 we tracked it. Just asked it last week again: 74 percent of Americans say, in the abstract, they like the idea of a federal tax cut.

By the way, the percent who are opposed is now up to about a quarter, but, still, you can see it's a very big majority.

But the devil's in the details. How would they like that tax cut to be done? Well, we juxtaposed here without using the candidates' names, would you prefer an across-the-board tax cut or one that was primarily for families making under $70,000 a year. And this, of course, is more like Bush's, this is more like Gore's. And look: The idea of the more targeted tax cuts actually wins here. So that's a plus for Gore's plans, generically speaking.

On the other hand, we said, which of these two candidates, Gore or Bush, would raise your taxes the most? And when we asked that question, Bush over here 44, Gore 32. So Bush, at least, has a 12- point edge. The public recognizes, at least some of the public, that he in fact would raise taxes more than Gore.

But when you net all that out, it's pretty close. We finally asked, whose tax cut plan, based on what you know about it, would you prefer? Gore is 35, Bush is 37, not surprising given that Gore is somewhat ahead in our polling, as we saw a minute ago, but not a huge difference for either of the candidates at this point, meaning the tax cut issues probably to some degree still in play as these candidates go about their business over the 50 days I think we have between now and the election -- Lou.

WATERS: OK, Frank, we'll talk to you again.

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