Congress blamed for middle class woes; Public opinion of lawmakers at new lows
When the storm's over, don't forget to claim possible tax help for your losses

Rich are greedy, less honest and
don't pay their fair share in taxes

Another day, another poll and some more public perceptions for Mitt Romney to consider.

The Pew Research Foundation, which earlier reported that members of the middle class primarily blame Congress for their declining fortunes, now tells us that Americans tend to view the rich as more intelligent, less honest and greedier.

And, oh yeah, 58 percent of those surveyed say the rich pay too little in taxes.

Pew Research Foundation rich taxes Aug 27 2012

OK, you say, we're all envious of those making more money than us.

But Pew researchers say that even those who describe themselves as upper or upper-middle class think richer folks are getting off easier when it comes to taxes.

Fifty-two percent of more financially comfortable respondents say upper-income Americans don't pay enough in taxes.

Differing political views of traits: Not surprisingly, Republicans and Democrats view the rich differently.

The good news for Romney is that a higher share of Republicans (55 percent) than Democrats (33 percent) say that compared with the average person, rich people are more likely to be hardworking.

Republicans are also more likely than Democrats to view rich people as more intelligent than average.

But to be elected, Romney will need support of voters who aren't in his party.

The Pew poll didn't break out the numbers as far as Independent voters, but it did find that Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to view the rich as greedy.

Democrats also have a less positive view of the rich when it comes to honesty.

While 18 percent of Republicans say rich people are more likely than average to be honest, only 8 percent of Democrats agree.

Party difference on taxes, too: Partisanship also is closely linked to views about federal taxes, according to the Pew Research Foundation, with the biggest gaps appearing over tax rates for the rich.

A solid majority, 44 percent, of Republicans say upper-income people pay either their fair share and 14 percent of GOP respondents say the rich pay too much.

Pew Research Foundation Rich-Poor taxes gap Aug 27 2012

Only 13 percent of Democrats say upper-income people pay their fair share in taxes, while 4 percent in that party say the rich are paying too much.

Among Democrats, a strong majority, 78 percent, say upper-income people pay too little in taxes. Only 33 percent of Republicans agree.

Wrong poll questions? Joe Henchman, an attorney and policy analyst with the Tax Foundation, says the survey should have asked additional questions, such as what the respondents think the rich should pay or what the rich actually do now pay

Past surveys that have asked this question find that Americans overwhelmingly think the wealthy pay far less in taxes than they actually do, says Henchman.

And, he says, polls that ask respondents to estimate how much taxes rich people should pay usually come up with percentages that are far lower than what the wealthy actually pay.

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