Advancing a Free Society

Do Americans Favor a Flat Tax?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

By David Brady and Tammy Frisby

Last week, YouGov/Polimetrix asked a sample of 1,000 adults about a flat rate income tax. We commissioned the poll to survey Americans on their opinion of changing from our current income tax system to a flat tax system under which all but low-income Americans would pay 19% of their income in taxes, regardless of how much money they make.

Flat tax proponents face an uphill battle. Americans in general opposed the flat tax proposal 39% to 28%. Democrats opposed the flat tax by a wide margin, 52% to 19%. More Republicans supported the flat tax proposal than opposed it, but even then, a majority did not favor it (45% in favor to 33% opposed). The level of support is only slightly higher among registered voters who say they will vote in a Republican primary or caucus next year. These Republicans favored the flat tax 48% to 30%.

But fully one-third of all respondents in our survey were unsure about their opinion of the proposed flat tax. This high degree of uncertainty is consistent with a recent Rasmussen poll of likely voters that asked about a 17% flat tax on income over $17,000. In the Rasmussen poll, 42% opposed the flat tax, 31% favored it, and 27% remained undecided.

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