Assessments of 2017 tax law more negative than positive in many demographic groups

Across many demographic groups, assessments of the 2017 tax law are more negative than positive overall. And partisan differences in the law, which were evident in January 2018 shortly after it was enacted, are about as wide today as they were then.

Democrats, regardless of ideology, overwhelmingly disapprove of the tax law, while there are wider ideological differences among Republicans.

Overall, 71% of Republicans and Republican leaners approve of the law. Conservative Republicans are more likely than moderate and liberal Republicans to approve of the tax law (80%, compared with 55%).

By contrast, sizable majorities of both liberal (80%) and conservative and moderate (77%) Democrats and Democratic leaners say they disapprove of the law.

Adults 65 and older are divided in their views of the tax law: 43% approve, while 41% disapprove. Among younger age cohorts, more disapprove than approve of the law.

While views of the tax law are more negative than positive across all educational groups, those with postgraduate degrees are more likely than others to say they disapprove of the law (60% say this, compared to 48% of those with less education).

Among whites, views of the tax law are significantly different between those with and without a college degree. About half of whites with a college degree or more (51%) disapprove of the law, while 37% approve. Among whites without a college degree, the balance of opinion is roughly the reverse: 47% approve; 32% disapprove.

Views of economic fairness

Most Americans (63%) say the economic system in the United States unfairly favors powerful interests; only about a third (34%) say it is generally fair to most Americans. The share saying the economic system is unfair has remained largely stable since 2014.

Republicans’ and Democrats’ attitudes about the fairness of the economic system have been moving in opposite directions over the past few years. In 2014, there was a 20 percentage-point gap between the shares of Republicans (51%) and Democrats (71%) who said the economy unfairly favors powerful interests; that gap is now 41 points (40% of Republicans vs. 81% of Democrats). While about eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners say the economic system is unfair, a majority of Republicans and Republican leaners (56%) now say the economic system is generally fair to most Americans.

The public continues to say that “business corporations make too much profit.” Today, 56% of the public says corporations make too much profit; 39% say “most corporation make a fair and reasonable amount of profit.” These views have held largely steady since 1994.

Nearly three-quarters of Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say corporations make too much profit, while about a quarter (24%) say corporate profits are reasonable. Conversely, 56% of Republicans and Republican leaners say most businesses’ profits are fair and reasonable, while 38% say businesses are profiting too much.

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