The following are results of previous (inactive) ActionAmerica polls. As new polls are completed, the results of those polls will be posted here, for as long as those results may remain relevant.
Although our polls, like other online polls, are not scientific, we do go out of our way to notify people from all political viewpoints, so our polls may be somewhat more representative of reality, than polls on lots of sites that only notify people of their own political persuasion. In this regard, as each poll is posted, we attempt to notify a variety of conservative, liberal, libertarian and politically neutral blogs and newsgroups.The polls still aren't scientific. But we like to think that they are more representative of broad public opinion than what you might find on Rush Limbaugh's site or on Air America.
Ultimate Tax Reform Poll
@ 12:00AM CST)
Our Ultimate Tax Reform Poll was run for ten days in the last part of January, 2007. It offered three options. The offered options were determined from a preliminary, broad tax reform poll (see below), offering many different options, so as to determine what tax reform options had enough public support to even be considered in a more focused poll, such as this one. That preliminary poll was run for the two weeks, immediately preceding the start of this poll and had surprising results. It revealed three tax reform options (not just two, as we had expected) that had more than minimal public support. It is because every other tax reform poll that we have seen only included the two most publicized options and has never even considered any other option that we call this the "Ultimate" Tax Reform Poll.
Although that earlier poll was only intended as a very rough preliminary poll (it received only 415 votes in two weeks), we were very surprised to find that Taxing the States essentially tied with the Flat Tax. But, because of the preliminary nature of that poll, we didn't want to read anything into those results. We just included those three options in our "Ultimate Tax Reform Poll," the results of which are posted here.
The three options were the Fair Tax (a National Retail Sales Tax, as proposed in H.R. 25), the Flat Tax (a single rate income tax) and Taxing the States (a plan in which the federal government taxes the states, by apportionment and the states then collect tax within their borders, to pay the federal taxes, as each state chooses).
Unlike our preliminary tax reform poll that did not target search engines and was not highly advertised, this Ultimate Tax Reform Poll was advertised to a wide variety of advocacy groups and blogs, including Flat Tax supporters, Fair Tax supporters, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and several neutral blogs and targeted the search engines for a number of key words and phrases. As a result, this poll took 1774 total votes in 10 days.
Before reporting the totals, we should point out that the ending vote totals tell only part of the story.
It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the Fair Tax won easily, with 79.7% of the vote total. Here is how it played out.
|•||The Flat Tax||
|•||The Fair Tax||
|•||Taxing the States||
But as mentioned above, those totals are only part of the story.
While neither this poll nor its predecessor were scientific polls, watching the development of the vote totals, as they came in, told an interesting story that isn't evident in the final totals. For example, shortly after the poll was posted, you could see sudden surges of votes for both the Fair Tax and the Flat Tax. It is only reasonable to explain these surges in voting as the result of our posts to advocacy sites for each of those proposals and advocates for each of those proposals then spreading the word among their advocate friends. No such surges occurred at any time, during the poll, for the Taxing the States option. This is easy to explained, since there are no advocacy groups supporting any such a proposal.
What these surges tell us is the level of activist support that each proposal enjoys. For a very short time, immediately after the poll was posted, the Flat Tax reached a high of more than 30%, but when Fair Tax activists started voting, they pushed the Fair Tax to an early lead that reached as high as 87%. The Flat Tax then fell back into the 12 to 13% range, for the next few days. During that time, Taxing the States languished at around 2 or 3% and never went above about 6%. For the first four days, the vote totals swung back and forth a little, but stayed in these general ranges.
As the Fair Tax and Flat Tax activist vote tapered off, in the fifth and sixth days, we began to see a shift. Daily vote totals dropped. However, the actual numbers of votes for Taxing the States remained rather stable, throughout the entire polling period. This would lead us to believe that all of those votes represent normal non-activist voters, who just happened upon the poll. Since most of the activists who were going to vote did so in the first few days, the remaining days votes were likely non-activists.
What those votes tell us is the level of public, non-activist support that each plan enjoys. One of the things that we noticed in those waning days of the poll is that although the Flat Tax activists had pushed the Flat Tax out to sizable lead over Taxing the States, in the early days of the poll, the actual number of votes separating the Flat Tax and Taxing the States remained rather stable, in the later days of the poll. For four days, the margin between those two options fluctuated around 50 votes and Taxing the states ultimately ended up only 38 votes behind the Flat Tax or just over 1% behind the Flat Tax.
These numbers though different than in our preliminary poll, are all in the same general range.
The one thing that is clear, beyond any doubt, is that the Fair Tax has far more activist and public support than either the Flat Tax or Taxing the States. Even if the margin of error was an outrageous 50%, the Fair Tax would still have a huge lead. It's also clear that while the Flat Tax has far more activist support than Taxing the States, when it got down to the opinion of the general public, the Flat Tax had no more support than Taxing the States - an option that has not been discussed in any broad public forum and has no advocacy support of any kind.
This kind of result does not bode well for the Flat Tax. Think about it. The Flat Tax has several big name and wealthy advocates. Lot's of time and money has been spent to promote the Flat Tax. Then consider that a tax reform plan that has received zero public attention, has no advocacy group behind it and has had no money spent to promote it, manages to come in only about 2% behind it out of over 1700 votes. Perhaps it's time for Steve Forbes to turn out the lights at his Flat Tax office. His expensive support is creating about the same interest as a no-name proposal.
Tax Reform Poll (broad based)
(Closed 1/15/07 @ 6:00PM CST)
In this poll, we decided to offer more than the typical two popular tax reform options. In most tax reform polls, the options are limited to either the Fair Tax or the Flat Tax, with a few providing an option to keep the current system. We wanted to confirm that those were, indeed, the only two viable tax reform options - an opinion that we also held. Surprise! We were wrong. An option that we included, only to be thorough, came out of nowhere, to essentially tie the Flat Tax for second place.
In this poll, the Fair Tax was the clear winner, taking almost 70% of the votes. The Fair Tax took an early lead and stayed there. Early on, it ranked as high as 78% and never dropped below 69.2%. This is a little higher than in our past polls. This outcome supports other polls that, regardless of actual numbers, indicate growing support for the Fair Tax, from year to year.
The Flat Tax and taxing the states were essentially tied for second place, with a little over 11% of the vote, each. At the time voting was closed, the Flat Tax was only one vote ahead of taxing the states and had been behind most of the previous day, so we can't give either a clear decision for second place. The important and surprising aspect of this poll outcome, is that what is essentially a no-name, sleeper concept, was able to even tie a plan that has received lots' of media coverage and is promoted by none other than Steve Forbes. In fact, we only included taxing the states as an option, simply to avoid complaints that we didn't include all options. Little did we know that it would challenge the Flat Tax for second place.
Such an outcome raises serious questions about the true popularity of the Flat Tax. Think about it. Steve Forbes and the leaders of the Flat Tax movement have spent millions of dollars, to build what little support they have and a no-name proposal ties them. If the Flat Tax could only muster 11% of the vote, after all of the publicity that it has received and a no-name proposal could do just as well, with absolutely no publicity at all, what does that say about Flat Tax support? Is it real or is it all based upon hype?
The one thing that is clear, is that almost everyone wants tax reform. We included several options for keeping the current system, both with and without changes. Less than 5% of respondents wanted to keep the progressive income tax, albeit with some changes. None wanted to keep it as it is, with no changes, at all.
We feel that we adequately covered all of the reasonable and even some unreasonable options, because less than 1% of respondents chose "Other unspecified changes". Here are the results:
|•||The current progressive (multi-rate) tax system is fine, as it is. Don't tinker with it.||
|•||Keep the current progressive (multi-rate) system, but lower taxes across the board.||
|•||Keep the current progressive (multi-rate) system, but raise taxes across the board.||
|•||Keep the current progressive (multi-rate) system, but adjust some rates up and some rates down, making it more or less progressive.||
|•||Replace the progressive income tax with a single rate income tax (often referred to as the Flat Tax).||
|•||Replace the progressive income tax and Social Security tax with a single rate national retail sales tax (often referred to as the Fair Tax), collected only at the point of final retail sale of new products, which would also entail the elimination of the IRS.||
|•||Replace the progressive income tax with a European style VAT (Value Added Tax), collected at all points along the distribution channel, including final retail sale.||
|•||Replace the progressive income tax with increased duties and tariffs.||
|•||The federal government should not tax individuals, but rather only tax the states, by apportionment. It would then become the responsibility of each state to collect enough taxes from their citizens, in whatever manner each state should choose, to pay the federal tax bill.||
|•||Some combination of the above.||
|•||Eliminate all federal taxes. Taxes should be voluntary.||
|•||Other unspecified changes.||
Thank you for your interest. Watch for more polls on ActionAmerica.org. Our new polls are always announced on our Home Page.