November 11, 2006
There are many reasons that Republicans lost control of Congress last week. On one level, people just didn’t think Congress was doing its job very well.
However, it is also clear that the GOP lost its edge on an issue that
Ronald Reagan once claimed solely for the Republicans—taxes.
Americans today still hold views similar to those that brought Reagan to the
White House—61% believe that tax hikes are bad for the economy. Just
16% believe they help the economy (see crosstabs).
But, in the Reagan era, Republicans were seen as the protector of tax
cuts while Democrats were painted as always seeking more revenue for
government. A Rasmussen Reports survey finds that the distinction is no
longer clear in the public mind.
Heading into Election
2006, 45% of voters believed that taxes would go up if Democrats won
control of Congress. Just 12% thought Democrats in control would lead
to lower taxes.
However, while concern about tax hikes
remained on voters’ minds, they didn’t see Republicans as all that
different. Thirty-two percent (32%) of voters believed that Republican
control of Congress would lead to higher taxes and just 13% thought the
GOP would enact further tax cuts.
Among the general
public, Republicans remain more zealous than others about the benefits
of lower taxes—74% of Republicans believe that higher taxes hurt the
economy. But, that view is shared by a majority of Democrats (51%) and
unaffiliated (57%) voters.