By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times –
WASHINGTON — Six in 10 Americans support a tax increase on annual income of more than $250,000, according to a nationwide poll released Wednesday.
Such a move is the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s efforts to avoid the large automatic tax increases and spending cuts, collectively known as the fiscal cliff, that are coming at the start of next year.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll showed 73 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independents back raising taxes on incomes over $250,000, while just 39 percent of Republicans support it.
The poll results show the divide in Washington between Democrats and Republicans over reaching a major deficit-reduction package that would avoid the fiscal cliff. But the findings could boost Obama as he takes his case to the public.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said he’s open to raising additional tax revenue from the wealthy to help close the deficit, but wants to do it by eliminating deductions in the tax code.
The Post/ABC poll showed that approach has less support than Obama’s, with 44 percent supporting a reduction in deductions that people can claim on their federal taxes and 49 percent opposed.
Democratic and independent support for that idea is about the same as the national figure, but only 39 percent of Republicans back the approach, the poll said.
One area of agreement among Democrats, Republicans and independents is opposition to raising the age for Medicare coverage to 67 years old from 65, with 67 percent of respondents opposing it.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has proposed a gradual increase in the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security as part of a deficit-reduction plan.