Only slightly more than a quarter of all Democrats share Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s belief that a $1.35 trillion tax-cut plan pushed by President Bush last year was a mistake.

According to pollster Scott Rasmussen of Portrait of America and ScottPolls.com, just 28 percent of Democrats in a recent survey side with Daschle’s assessment that tax cuts are bad for the economy.

However, the survey showed that 37 percent of Democrats think that tax cuts are good for the economy, while another 23 percent said they had “no impact.”

“This division among the Democrats stands in sharp contrast to the unity found among Republicans on the tax issue,” said Rasmussen.

Daschle, D-S.D., Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and a few other Democratic lawmakers have accused the Bush administration of helping tank the economy – which actually began to decline during the Clinton administration – by helping pass $1.35 trillion in tax cuts last year, most of which have yet to even kick in.

Fully 65 percent of Republicans polled say tax cuts are good for the economy, while only 12 percent said they were not.

Overall, among all Americans, 49 percent believe that tax cuts are good for the economy, while just one-fifth believe that tax cuts hurt the economy. Nineteen percent said that tax cuts have no impact.

The poll also found that 46 percent of unaffiliated Americans believe tax cuts help the economy while only 19 percent believe they hurt the economy.

Meanwhile, nearly half – 47 percent – of those polled think that tax cuts will do more to stimulate the sagging U.S. economy than “new government spending on important projects.” Just over a third, 37 percent, said government spending will do the trick.

Just 22 percent of Republicans favored government spending as an economic stimulus.

“These two facts help explain Daschle’s new willingness to deal” with Republicans and the Bush administration on a new economic package, said Rasmussen. “He needs a stimulus package for his constituency and nobody rallied around his challenge to tax cutting.”

Along those lines, the poll found that 46 percent of Americans believe President Bush has a better plan for dealing with the economy than congressional Democrats. Thirty-three percent favored the Democrats.

Among government employees, opinion is evenly divided, with 43 percent backing the Bush approach and 39 percent supporting the Democrats. Private sector workers prefer the Bush approach by a 50 percent-to-31 percent margin.

The poll’s findings are from a national telephone survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Scott Rasmussen Public Opinion Research on Jan. 19. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points, with a 95 percent level of confidence.


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