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Rain tax or fee? Name matters mainly in political debates

Tax cuts + Trump ≠ midterm positives for GOP


Anecdotal campaign info indicates that the new Republican tax law isn't motivating potential midterm voters to support that party's candidates.

That's probably why the campaigner-in-chief recently tossed in an off-the cuff promise of a pre-Nov. 6 tax cut for the middle class. Spoiler: that isn't happening.

Now a formal survey confirms the lack of enthusiasm for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), aka the GOP tax reform bill.

Voters 'meh' at best on tax cuts: A Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll conducted last week on behalf of National Public Radio (NPR) and PBS NewsHour found that just 11 percent see the tax cuts as the most important factor when deciding how to cast their votes next month.

Even worse for GOP lawmakers, who created the bill without any Democratic support and hurried it through Congress last December, the tax measure appears to have backfired politically.

A plurality of voters, 45 percent, surveyed by Marist said the issue of tax cuts makes them more likely to vote for a Democrat for Congress next month. Only 39 percent said the tax bill makes them more likely to vote Republican.

That pretty much makes the TCJA, to borrow the Twitter characterization by NPR's Domenico Montanaro, who reported on the poll results, a voting issue dud.

However, that minimal 11 percent who care about the new tax law does earn this week's By the Numbers honor.

The Trump effect: The Marist/NPR/PBS poll did find one thing is motivating midterm voters.

You guessed it. Donald J. Trump.

But again, not exactly the way Republicans would like.

Roughly two-thirds of voters say Trump is a factor, either major or minor, in how they'll vote in just more than a week. That's far more than said the same in a similar 2014 poll when Barack Obama was president.

Among women, the Trump effect is even more pronounced.

Marist found that 51 percent of women overall said Trump will be a "major" factor in their vote. Fifty-four percent of suburban women said the same.

And, like the tax bill, the numbers don't bode well for the GOP.

Among those who said Trump is a "major factor," 64 percent said they were more likely to vote Democratic in November, while just half that percentage said they were more likely to vote Republican.

"This is definitively a national election — with a referendum on Trump," said Marist Institute Director Lee Miringoff.

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