Fewer than a third of Americans back Donald Trump's tax plan: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) and Trump arrive at the US Capitol, Oct 24, 2017.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) and Trump arrive at the US Capitol, Oct 24, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Fewer than a third of Americans support Donald Trump's tax-cut plan, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday (Oct 24), as the US president went to Capitol Hill looking for Republican backing for his proposal to slash tax rates for individuals and companies.

As the 2018 midterm congressional election campaigns grow nearer, the poll found that more than two-thirds of registered voters said reducing the US federal budget deficit is more important than cutting taxes for the wealthy or for corporations.

Trump's plan would balloon the deficit and add to the US$20 trillion (S$27.2 trillion) national debt, according to critics and independent analysts, but Republicans say the tax cuts proposed in the plan would be offset by economic growth that would generate new tax revenue.

Among Republicans surveyed, 63 per cent said deficit reduction should take priority over tax cuts for corporations, while 75 per cent said deficit reduction should take priority over tax cuts for the wealthy.

Democrats oppose Trump's plan, unveiled on Sept 27, and say it is unfair to the poor and the working class.

The plan is still only a nine-page "framework." It was drafted in secret by Trump administration and congressional leaders. Formal legislation is in development.

Congressional leaders and Trump are trying to lock in support for the plan from rank-and-file Republicans, who were uninvolved in the framework drafting process.

Trump, who has yet to score a major legislative win since taking office in January, wants his plan to become law before year's end, a timeframe that some policy analysts doubt is realistic.

More than half of the adults surveyed in the poll agreed that "cutting taxes for the poor is more important than reducing the federal deficit," with 68 per cent of Democrats and 47 per cent of Republicans in accord with that statement, the poll showed.

The Oct 20-23 poll found that only 15 per cent of registered voters said Republicans in Congress should prioritise tax reform over other issues. About a quarter of those polled, including 23 per cent of Democrats and 30 per cent of Republicans, agreed that Congress should continue working on a health-care Bill.

Of those adults who said they had heard of the "tax reform plan recently proposed by congressional Republicans", just 28 per cent said they support it, while 41 per cent said they oppose it and another 31 per cent said they do not know.

The poll found opinions on Trump's plan were sharply divided along party lines, with 56 per cent of Republicans and just 9 per cent of Democrats supporting it.

Of those who had heard of the plan, 14 per cent said it would cut their taxes, while 30 per cent said it would increase their taxes. Another 35 per cent said their taxes would not change and 20 per cent said they did not know how it would impact them.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states. It gathered responses from 1,862 people, including 1,079 people who said they were aware of the Republican tax plan. It has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points.