Winning the Debate on Taxes and the Economy

Faced with a faltering economy, the Republican party and its presidential candidates have fallen in lockstep behind President Bush in calling to make his tax cuts permanent. As we approach the start of our sixth year in Iraq, their relief at the shift in national focus is almost palpable. But they are wrong. A recent Democracy Corps survey of the congressional battleground finds that Republicans no longer have any advantage on taxes and — even more than on national security — when Democrats engage and define the choice, they truly dominate and shift the 2008 vote even further. Rather than being on the defensive on taxes, Democrats should take the offensive by attacking a tax system rigged to ensure the wealthiest and corporations pay very little.

Democracy Corps has recently completed a survey of 1,527 likely voters in 65 battleground Congressional Districts that shows Democrats holding a 23-point edge in the 25 Democratic-held districts and running even in the 40 Republican-held districts. As Congress begins its new session with Congressional leaders proposing a meeting with President Bush to discuss an economic stimulus package, this survey focuses on voters’ attitudes toward taxes, and reveals that whether it is short-term issues like the Alternative Minimum Tax or major long-term tax reform, voters rally to a Democratic approach that demonstrates their tax-cutting priorities, focused on the middle class and reversing inequality, by requiring the wealthiest to pay taxes too. In their latest strategy memo, Stan Greenberg, James Carville, and Kristi Fuksa highlight how Democrats can build confidence and make real gains, even in Republican territory, when they prioritize changing the middle class tax burden and engage the Republicans at every opportunity.

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