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					September 15, 2010

To: Interested Parties
Fr: John Anzalone and Mark Keida
Re: Recent Data on Tax Cuts

The president’s recent proposal to extend tax cuts for the middle class, while letting the Bush tax
cuts expire for the wealthy, is a smart political move for a number of reasons: 1) it enjoys rising
public support; 2) it protects against the loss of swing independents; 3) it allows Democrats to
drive a contrast with the GOP; and 4) it allows Democrats to address voters’ overlapping
economic concerns.

First, there is solid public support behind the president’s plan. A majority (56%) opposes
extending tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans (36% support this) according to a recent CBS
poll. This includes a plurality of Republicans (48% to 46%) who believe we should let tax cuts
expire for the rich. When asked specifically about the plan to extend tax cuts for the middle
class, pluralities support the president’s plan. The most recent USA Today/Gallup poll from late
August finds 44% support the president’s plan, compared to 37% who want to extend all taxes
and 15% who want to let all taxes expire. This compares to older polls showing a deficit.

Second, the president’s plan helps protect against the exodus of swing independents to the
Republican Party this cycle. Recent internal polling conducted by GQR shows independents
favoring the Democratic position on taxes by a 53% to 38% margin. Recent internal battleground
polling conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research shows 40% to 50% of voters siding with the
president’s position, compared to about one-third for the GOP position.

Third, the president’s proposal allows Democrats to drive a clear contrast with the Republican
Party at precisely the time when voters are starting to pay attention to the midterm elections. The
Democrats are facing a hostile electorate that holds both Parties in low esteem. We need to fill in
the gaps and demonstrate that Democrats are on the side of the middle class, while Republicans
are on the side of millionaires.

Finally, the president’s plan helps him and his Party address several economic cross-pressures
facing the public. Americans are torn between competing priorities: lowering taxes, reducing the
federal budget deficit, and ensuring that businesses have what they need to spend money and
grow jobs. The middle class tax plan allows Democrats to thread this needle. Even independents
in are concerned about the price tag and budget implications of extending high-end tax cuts.

Ultimately, Democrats must be exceedingly disciplined in their messaging, reminding voters at
every step that the president’s plan puts money into the pockets of families and small businesses,
takes a responsible course on the budget deficit, and most important, presents a stark choice
between the Democrats, who are siding with the middle class, and the Republicans, who are
siding with millionaires and proposing the same economic policies that drove our economy into a
ditch.

				
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posted:9/15/2010
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