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Poll: More Americans support Clinton's plan for surplus

By Keating Holland/CNN

July 19, 1999
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 19)-- When it comes to public opinion, President Bill Clinton appears to have a slight edge over congressional GOP leaders in the upcoming negotiations over tax cuts, Medicare, and the fate of the federal budget surplus, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

When asked about the choices involved in cutting taxes and still funding federal programs, Americans prefer Clinton's approach over the GOP's by a 48 percent to 40 percent margin.

And when faced with a trade-off between tax cuts and increased spending for Medicare, two-thirds prefer larger increases in spending on Medicare even if it means smaller tax cuts. Only a third prefer larger tax cuts if the trade-off were smaller increases in Medicare programs.

One reason for that: tax cuts are important to most Americans, but Medicare is an even higher priority for the public. An strong majority -- 78 percent -- say that Medicare is extremely or very important to their vote for Congress next November while 60 percent say the same about tax cuts.

Clinton's advantage over the GOP may also be due to the perception that the Republicans are mostly interested in benefitting the rich with their tax cuts; only a quarter feel that way about the tax cuts proposed by the Democrats.

The survey of 1,031 adult Americans was conducted July 16-18, 1999. Questions have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points unless otherwise indicated.

Questions and results

When it comes to dealing with the tough choices involved both in cutting taxes and still maintaining needed federal programs, whose approach do you prefer -- the Republicans in Congress, or President Clinton's?

Clinton48%
Republicans40

As you may know, Congress and Clinton are debating over the amount of money to use for tax cuts and funding to create new Medicare programs. If you had to choose, which combination would you prefer -- (a) a larger tax cut and smaller increases in spending on Medicare, or (b) a smaller tax cut and larger increases in spending on Medicare?

More Medicare spending66%
Larger tax cuts32
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

As I read a list of issues being discussed today, please tell me if each of the following issues are important to your vote for Congress in November?

Social Security84%
Health care79
Medicare78
Gun control61
Tax cuts60
Campaign finance reform40

Who do you think the Republicans in Congress are most interested in benefitting with their proposed tax cut -- the rich, the middle class, or both about equally?

The rich51%
The middle class13
Both equally30

Who do you think the Democrats in Congress are most interested in benefitting with their proposed tax cut -- the rich, the middle class, or both about equally?

The rich26%
The middle class33
Both equally32

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VIDEO

Brooks Jackson reports on what the GOP tax plan would mean for most Americans (7-14-99) video Windows Media: 28K | 80K


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MORE STORIES:

Thursday, July 15, 1999

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