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Despite talk of a 'win,' GOP tax plan is a loser with the public

When Republicans passed their regressive tax plan, many observers described it as a "win" for the GOP, but with the American mainstream, the plan is a loser.
President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump (L) meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) at The Capitol Building on Nov. 10, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty)
President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump (L) meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) at The Capitol Building on Nov. 10, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Yesterday at the White House, Donald Trump boasted about how great he thinks the Republican tax plan is. "I think people see that, and they're seeing it more and more," the president said. "And the more they learn about it, the more popular it becomes."

As is too often the case, what Trump said is pretty much the opposite of what's true.

A Gallup poll found that 29% of people surveyed approved of the GOP tax bill, named the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, while 56% disapproved. [...]And a poll from Quinnipiac University also found that 29% of those surveyed approved of the bill while 53% disapproved.

The results of both of these surveys were quite brutal for supporters of the regressive GOP package. The Gallup and Quinnipiac results both pointed to an American mainstream that believes the Republican tax policy will deliver the bulk of its benefits to the wealthy and big corporations -- which happens to be true.

Of particular interest in the Quinnipiac data, the poll asked Americans which party they trust more on the issue of taxes. As recently as August, Democrats and Republicans were tied. Now, Dems have an eight-point advantage.

Asked which party can do a better job "fighting for the working class," Democrats are ahead, 56% to 34%.

After Senate Republicans narrowly rammed through their tax plan in the middle of the night a few days ago, much of the coverage hailed the developments as a "win" and an important "victory" for the GOP and its leaders. And while that may have been true in one sense -- Senate Republicans successfully passed what they wanted to pass -- public revulsion toward their legislation makes it difficult to see the developments as some kind of triumph.

The HuffPost had an interesting item the other day, asking GOP senators for their reactions to the overwhelming evidence that the American mainstream isn't buying what they're selling. Several of the Republicans quoted suggested they simply don't believe the polls.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), however, argued, "Tax cuts are generally unpopular," as if GOP policymakers, desperate to improve their public standing, deliberately set out to do something the public disapproves of.

The trouble is, the evidence to the contrary is unambiguous: tax cuts are generally popular with the American mainstream. This plan isn't. The public is already inclined to believe the system is stacked in favor of the wealthy, and GOP officials are predictably facing resistance because they're doing the opposite of what voters want.

As we discussed in October, Republicans are working from the assumption that if they ignore popular will, they'll eventually be rewarded by the voters whose wishes they're ignoring. They're likely to be disappointed by the results.