Last Updated:November 27 @ 10:50 am

Rasmussen: Boehner's 'Plan B' Doesn't Help the GOP

By Scott Rasmussen

President Obama and congressional Democrats are still winning the messaging battle in the debate over the impending "fiscal cliff."

Republican House Speaker John Boehner tried to change that with a fallback position extending tax cuts for everyone except those making more than a million dollars a year and letting the scheduled spending cuts go through. As I write this, the vote on Boehner's "Plan B" has not been taken, but it doesn't really matter. Either way, Republicans will end up as losers in the court of public opinion.

That's true even though raising taxes on millionaires is supported by 62 percent of voters nationwide. Boehner's plan fails to accomplish the speaker's goal of showing that Republicans are willing to raise taxes on the rich, however.

Why? Because 59 percent of voters also want to see taxes raised on those who earn more than $250,000 a year. In other words, the president can continue his rhetoric unchanged, and people still will side with Obama over Boehner.

Most significantly, Boehner's plan doesn't gain Republicans any support from unaffiliated voters. Sixty-three percent of these voters like the idea of raising taxes for those who earn more than a million dollars a year. But the exact same number (63 percent) want to raise taxes on those who earn between $250,000 and a million dollars a year, too.

So by agreeing to raise taxes on anyone, Boehner has antagonized his base. By refusing to raise taxes on enough upper-income Americans, Boehner has antagonized those in the middle. Most Americans consider $50,000 a middle-class income, and the speaker is seen as trying to protect those who make five times that amount.

Republicans are losing the debate because the fiscal cliff talks are about fairness rather than about taxes and deficit reduction. Most voters (56 percent) believe the U.S. economy is unfair to the middle class. That's the issue Obama is talking about and Republicans are ignoring.

With Republicans avoiding the topic, the president defined the terms by saying those who earn more than $250,000 a year should pay more in taxes. It's true that $250,000 a year doesn't make someone rich, but the overwhelming majority of Americans defines such affluent citizens as "upper-income."

Republicans have a choice to make. They can continue opposing all tax hikes and attempt to make the case that it's the fair thing to do. If they take that approach, voters in the middle will tune out all other GOP talking points about the need for spending cuts and entitlement reform. Or they can let taxes go up on the president's terms and earn a chance to make the case for spending cuts and entitlement reform from a stronger position.

Both approaches are risky. That's what happens when you have a bad hand to play. But Boehner's plan is worse than either option because it further erodes support from the party's base without gaining any ground in the middle.

The only good news in all of this for the House Republicans is that the messaging over the fiscal cliff will not determine how they fare on Election Day in 2014. At that point, the president's popularity and his party's prospects will be judged by the state of the economy.




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  1. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    December 21, 2012 @ 8:54 am

    Just let the fiscal cliff do what it was designed for,,,,,,,which is to force the greedy American voters of free lunches, fee housing, free medicine and free anything paid for by others to start paying for it themselves with larger tax increases for ALL, to force them to see just what all this Liberal nonsense is actually costing us in our pockets today, instead of deluding America there will be no HIGHER cost down the road tomorrow. Post cliff crash, just how many Democrats will not reverse vote to replace the hole in the military budget while all the cuts to the social programs remain in place, and actually reawaken America back to the paradigm that government should only do for people that which they cannot do for themselves, like defend the nation in battle. It could have been “Pay me a little now” but because of can kicking down the road it WILL BE “Pay me a lot more later”. Later is now American socialist dreamers of unreality, so welcome to the real world of accountability. You borrowed and borrowed and borrowed, then stole other people’s prosperity both in the present and the future, so now the bill comes due. The last election of keeping the social parasites in power will not and did not stop the vultures from feeding off your flesh. That is not the fat that was and IS being trimmed off the corpse of formerly built up American prosperity but the muscle and sinew that used to be used to work and produce wealth. Thank the liberal progressive socialist leaders you just voted back into power whose economic cannibalistic ideology of smoke and mirrors prevented you from realizing they were chomping and feeding on YOUR butts all along. The great American herd of Politicial Progressive Liberal Bison are about to rush off the cliff en masse,leaving plenty of carion for the native American tree huggers and wealth stealers to feed off of for a season, but not enough to make it through the economic winter of our discontent that is just around the corner.

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  2. GoldminerComment by Goldminer
    December 21, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    The real problem is that the majority of the GOP elected officials are liberal-lite. They go to the same schools as the libs; they live in the same areas as the libs; they believe in the much of what the libs do, just lite.

    Much of our political class today are corrupt and have sold their soul to stay in, what they see as: POWER! Let a conservative of either strip stand up and see what happens by the majority/minority leaders: that individual loses his standing as he is perceived as a “threat” to the “leaders” power and he can’t have that.

    Because so many politicians lack moral integrity and principles, our nation is faltering and “dying” without the values that made us great.

    And the solution is so simple it is ridiculous that our pols refuse to see it: a FLAT TAX of 10% ON ALL CITIZENS’ INCOME FROM EVERY SOURCE! Never to be raised except if we are in a declared war according to the Constitution. And no exceptions in what the source is or where it is located.

    Now I will be attacked of course by those who have gazillion excuses, but the truth remains: a flat 10% tax. Good enough for God; gotta be good enough for Man.

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    • msgtazComment by msgtaz
      December 21, 2012 @ 11:01 am

      I would only ask is your congressmen and your Senator a Liberal or Conservative? Is he/she doing what you expect? If so why are you so critical? If not why is he representing you?
      As for as the flat tax. It takes time to do that and we well have to weight until the new congress come in before they can even think about doing that. Changing the tax system is going to be a time consuming process. But it is a good idea, my opinion if that counts.
      Republician like me think that less spending by government is whats going to get this country back. The Republician that serve me are not Liberals and I do not think that the Republician in congress are either.
      With that have a nice day. WE THE PEOPLE.

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    • NY GrahamComment by NY Graham
      December 21, 2012 @ 11:02 am

      A corporate tax rate of 10% would do wonders for our economy. It might make businesses move to the US for a change.

      I don’t know why you would be attacked for proposing a 10% flat tax. It seems reasonable to me. Out of interest, would this replace the Payroll taxes also, or would they be in addition?

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      December 21, 2012 @ 11:09 am

      First they came for the personal property of the Rich,

      But I was not Rich so I did not speak out,

      Then they came for the personal property of the upper middle class,

      But I was not of that class either so I slept secure,

      Then they came for the personal property of me,the average guy,

      But they convinced me it was my social responsibility to lose my property for the social justice of the poor,

      Then they came for my children who they brainwashed into devaluing human life in the womb,

      But I was not pregnant and like an Ebeneezer Scrouge was told to believe in the dangers of a surplus population,

      Then they killed my children in the heat of passion brought on by the insanity of a mantra of life devalued,

      SO I beleived them when they blamed the guns and not the decider,

      Then they came for my guns promising to protect me from all want, or need to be responsible for self,

      Then they came for ME, who by now was too poor in spirit and too poor in pocketbook to resist,

      I should have kept my guns and my personal property and taken it PERSONALLY a lot sooner.

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    • spriteComment by sprite
      December 28, 2012 @ 1:59 am

      Goldminer : the exact opposite is true. The Republican Party is circling the drain not because it isn’t true to it’s conservative principles- it is because it IS radically conservarive. Those who are not are not that way are going to have to coinvince the hard-nosed devotees that they MUST go more moderate because the people are rejecting the party’s ideas. Republican views are falling behind; the people are outgrowing their “principles”–sad as that may make you feel .

      Keep this in mind : There is strength in moderation.

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  3. BobinmsComment by Bobinms
    December 21, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    There is nothing wrong with “fairness” as long as I’m the one that decides what’s fair. When I was a youngster, I heard the fairness debate many times on the school yard. That’s the level Obama successfully caters too.

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  4. NewsWatcherComment by NewsWatcher
    December 21, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    From article “.. even though raising taxes on millionaires is supported by 62 percent of voters nationwide.”

    I really don’t care that a majority of voters are for raising taxes ON SOMEBODY ELSE .. (that in itself should tell you something.)

    For every percentage point of taxes raised on one group .. let it add the same proportion to all groups, THEN see how well it goes over. The divisions being created by this administration along class, sex, race (and many other areas) are causing more harm to this country than anything I have seen in my lifetime .. everybody wants SOMEONE ELSE to pay.

    I have said it before and will say it again .. if ALL taxes (soc sec, medicare, federal, state, local, property, excise, etc…) were not automatically withheld from paychecks or added onto purchases AND we all had to write checks every week/month to pay the share the governments are taking from us .. it would open the eyes of the public and there would be a huge tax revolt in this country.

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  5. NY GrahamComment by NY Graham
    December 21, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    The most important thing is that the GOP didn’t cave on Obama’s demand for greater Executive powers (i.e. the ability to bypass Congress when raising the debt limit). I am actually glad that “Plan B” failed (isn’t that the name of the abortion pill?).

    Rasmussen, I know you are a pollster, but I couldn’t care less how the public perceives the GOP right now. The next election is almost two years away. It is time for these elected officials to put the country first and popularity second. What’s more important- saving the country or getting re-elected?

    A recession is coming, and the dollar collapse is coming. When that happens people won’t care a fig about this dog and pony show.

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  7. hart65Comment by hart65
    December 21, 2012 @ 11:17 am

    Who’da thought that people who don’t pay taxes would poll in favor of raising taxes on those who do? We’re polling the wrong question. Simpson-Bowles and other studies are in lock-step agreement that for Medicare and Social Security to survive the “Rich” will have to pay way more in and get way less or maybe even nothing out. So ask this polling question… “Do you favor raising income taxes on the rich today if that will bankrupt Social Security and Medicare in 10 years?”

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      December 21, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

      The answer for the demented Liberal Progressive Liberal of the immediate gratification is obviously a resounding YES!

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  9. goldieComment by goldie
    December 21, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

    If they like Bill Clintons Taxes then pass his “Budget” that the liberals keep telling us how great it was.

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  10. wobblymeComment by wobblyme
    December 21, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

    One of the things he is asking for in this piece of legislation is also the ability to control the spending, as he is President and should be allowed to manage it all.

    He said that if he didn’t do all he had promised he would not run for reelection…he is still running..his mouth that is.

    He does like to be the center of attention.

    When he does have an idea,

    it would be nice if it were for the good of the United States rather than running it into the ground and putting us down.

    I am very PROUD of our NATION,
    what we use to stand for

    however with all the politicians they seem to bending over backwards to make this guy happy.
    What about US the people who have to live in the mess they are creating or trying to stop.
    With O out there all the time running his mouth to the press seems like he just want to show
    the world who’s the boss. This is where impeachment comes in handy if someone just
    had the guts to get it started
    Its not about politics anymore its about OUR COUNTRY.

    There are times like this that just make me want to scream.
    I wonder,
    if he would like it if Congress and the House passed a bill they liked while he was on vacation ?
    The way he did to them?
    Of course they would have to meet, talk and just really get down to business!
    It can be done.

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  11. wobblymeComment by wobblyme
    December 21, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

    Thanks for reading my ramble

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  12. msgtazComment by msgtaz
    December 21, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

    When did we stop talking about creating JOBS. It seem to me that is what we need. I was told that tax cuts would create jobs. If that is not true, raise taxes on the people that have the need to hire workers. If it is true that raising taxes on those folk will not create jobs, then say so. I feel like sense the election has been over everything said about the subject has not been talked about. I am beginning to think Romneys statement about the 47% is TRUE. I have seen and heard that the Obama voter really do not know what is going on about any subject. They seem to have voted without a clear idea what Obama is doing……and really do not care. Americans are sick and in 4 more years I do not think we will be able to have a say. I am scared!

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  13. gsreaganComment by gsreagan
    December 21, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

    It’s time for “Bonner” to go. Put someone with a backbone and an honest conservative in his place. Someone that can “kick some liberal a**”. I vote for Chuck Norris.

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