Does Obama Have Support From "The 47 Percent" On Taxes?
President Obama has promised in his second term to tackle the deficit and pay for new investments by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. As it so happens, 47 percent of Americans who voted in the presidential election approve of that plan -- if asked in a certain way.
CBS News Election Day exit polling gives some insight into the level of public support Mr. Obama may or may not have as he pursues his second term goals like tax reform, as well as how easily opinions can change when policies are cast in a different light.
The president has long called for increasing taxes to Clinton-era levels on Americans with incomes over $250,000. When asked whether income taxes should increase for all Americans, wealthy Americans or no one, 47 percent of voters said taxes should be raised for wealthy Americans.
Mr. Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy was cast by Republicans as class warfare. Coincidentally, during a fundraiser for his campaign, Mitt Romney said there are 47 percent of Americans who are "dependent upon government" and would support Mr. Obama no matter what.
While nearly half of voters are in line with the president on this issue, 35 percent said taxes shouldn't be increased for anyone, while another 13 percent they should be raised for everyone.
However, a second question on the issue shows how dramatically public opinion can shift when the question is framed differently: Asked whether taxes should be raised to help cut the budget deficit, just 33 percent said yes and 63 percent said no.
Meanwhile, 14 percent of voters said taxes were the biggest economic problem facing voters like them, and of those voters, 66 percent supported Romney.
The exit polling showed that voters are still sympathetic of the economic conditions under which Mr. Obama first took office -- 53 percent said President George W. Bush is more to blame for the current economic problems, while just 38 percent said the president is.
Still, most voters aren't looking for government solutions for the economy. Fifty-one percent said government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals, while 43 percent government should do more to solve problems.
The exit polling also shows that voters could be open to another one of the president's second term goals, immigration reform. Sixty-five percent said most illegal immigrants working in the United States should be offered a chance to apply for legal status while just 28 percent said they should be deported to the country they came from.
Voters, not surprisingly, were split over Mr. Obama's 2010 health care law, which is still being implemented. One quarter of voters said all of it should be repealed, while 24 percent said some of it should be repealed. Another 18 percent said it should be left as is, while 26 percent said it should be expanded.