Americans: Right About Some Things, Wrong About Others

Two sets of current poll data are of interest. First, Americans hate the news media. Nothing new here, but if anything the feeling has intensified. Good. Rasmussen reports:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 30% of Likely U.S. voters say they trust the political news they’re getting – down from 37% in July 2021 – while 52% say they don’t trust political news, and 19% are not sure.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters agree that the media are “truly the enemy of the people,” including 35% who Strongly Agree. Thirty-six percent (36%) don’t agree, including 23% who Strongly Disagree.

That last finding is remarkable. This is the question that Rasmussen asked:

Do you agree or disagree with this statement: The media are “truly the enemy of the people”?

And 59% said they agree. That includes 44% of Democrats! Amazing. More:

By more than a 30-point margin, voters view the media as tilted in favor of Democrats. Fifty-two percent (52%) believe news media coverage of politics generally tends to favor Democrats, compared to 20% who think coverage favors Republicans. Nineteen percent (19%) say political coverage in the news media is mostly neutral and balanced, while another 10% are not sure.

That 20%? They’re lying to the pollster.

Many conservatives wring their hands over the fact that outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, CNN, NBC, etc., propagate fake news, don’t give conservatives a fair shake, and are hostile to the United States. All of that is true. But the liberals’ control over the press does them much less good than it once did, because a large majority of Americans have figured out that those news outlets are lying to them. Consistently. Over and over. The Democrats have gone to the well with fake news so many times that there is little credibility left with which they can damage the right.

On the other hand, lots of Americans are wrong about this one: Gallup headlines: “Americans’ Views of Federal Income Taxes Worsen.”

Americans’ opinions of federal income taxes are the worst Gallup has measured in about two decades.

* Six in 10 Americans say the amount of federal income tax they pay is “too high,” a level last seen in 2001.
* Forty-six percent believe the income tax they pay is fair, essentially tying 1999’s 45% as the lowest in Gallup’s trend. A new high of 51% say their income taxes are not fair.
* More Americans say federal income tax is the worst — or least fair — tax, edging out local property tax.

This is the chart:

It isn’t clear why more Americans think they are paying too much federal income tax now, compared with a few years ago. Federal rates haven’t gone up. Gallup helpfully suggests that “Lower- and middle-income Americans, particularly those who are Republicans, may incorrectly think they are paying a higher income tax rate under Biden than before he took office.” Maybe so. Possibly people keep reading about skyrocketing federal spending and assume they must be paying for some of it.

It is interesting that 60% say their federal income taxes are too high, while 51% say their taxes are not fair. Some taxpayers evidently are making a relatively subtle distinction: their taxes are too high because the government spends far too much money, but they are not unfair relative to other taxpayers. Those respondents have a point. Given the absurd progressivity of the federal income tax, it is only the top 5% of taxpayers who actually pay more than their fair share. And the 60% who say their income taxes are too high–isn’t that about equal to the percentage who pay any federal income tax at all? I believe it is.

So Americans are appropriately surly, but not necessarily well informed, about federal income tax burdens. That is not a bad thing. The Democrats face a dilemma here. They can’t very well go to taxpayers and explain that only the top 5% are overtaxed, and everyone else is to some degree a free rider, as far as the income tax goes. That would destroy too many narratives on which they depend. So there isn’t much they can do to allay the surliness we see in polls like these.

Americans are unhappy about the income tax? Good. Let’s cut spending.

So on the news media, Americans have the facts figured out. Whereas on income taxes, many are confused. But in both cases, their mood is good for conservatives and for America.

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