As the Senate version of the Republican tax reform bill made its way through the legislative process this weekend, Gallup documented a highly partisan imbalance in Americans' reactions. Seven percent of Democrats and 25% of independents polled Friday and Saturday say they approve of the proposed changes to the federal tax code, contrasted with 70% of Republicans.
Mostly as a result of weak support from Democrats and independents regarding the proposed tax changes, 29% of U.S. adults as a whole approve of the plan, while 56% disapprove and 16% have no opinion. Still, 16% of Republicans disapprove, resulting in fewer Republicans approving of the plan (70%) than Democrats disapproving (87%).
The tax bill passed a major hurdle Saturday morning when the Senate approved it on a 51 to 49 near party-line vote. It now heads to conference committee where representatives from the House and Senate will work to craft compromise legislation that could get through both chambers by month's end.
Americans' current approval of the proposed tax changes is slightly lower than the 39% approval Gallup found the last time Congress took on a major overhaul of the federal tax code. That was in 1986, with President Ronald Reagan spearheading the legislation. However, the big difference between the two efforts is that far fewer Americans opposed the 1986 tax bill than oppose the proposals being debated today, 34% vs. 56%, respectively. More than a quarter of Americans in September 1986, just prior to final passage of that plan, expressed no opinion about it -- roughly twice today's level.