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UW Survey: Wyoming Voters Support Tax Increase


November 29, 2012 — While Wyoming voters gave Republican Mitt Romney the second-highest percentage of the vote of any state -- 69 percent -- they disagreed with him on one of the campaign’s central issues: Whether to increase tax rates on individuals earning more than $250,000 annually.

That was among the findings in the University of Wyoming’s Election Year Survey. One of the questions asked respondents: “In order to reduce the federal budget deficit, do you support or oppose raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year?” Fifty-six percent of the Wyoming sampled voters answered that they supported an increase compared to 44 percent who disagreed.

“These results do not diverge as much from national results as do the presidential election results,” says Oliver Walter, dean of the University of Wyoming College of Arts and Sciences and the survey’s co-director.

The survey also asked whether or not raising taxes would help or hinder economic growth. Forty percent felt that an increase would help the economy, while 30 percent agreed with Romney that increases would hurt economic growth. The remainder of the sample said an increase would neither help nor hurt growth.

A final question pertaining to this issue asked respondents whether an increase in taxes for those earning more than $250,000 would make the tax structure more or less fair. Again, 40 percent of the sample answered that an increase would yield a fairer structure versus 29 percent who answered that it would be less fair.

Not surprisingly, a solid majority of those identifying themselves as Republican indicated that they opposed a tax increase (56 percent to 44 percent). However, independents, by a similar margin, would favor an increase. Almost nine out of 10 Democrats favored President Obama’s tax increase proposal.

“Wyoming Republicans are by far in the majority and it is, therefore, to be expected that both of our senators and our representative strongly oppose a tax increase,” Walter says.

The statewide telephone survey of 668 Wyoming citizens was conducted in October by UW’s Wyoming Survey Analysis Center (WYSAC). The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Biennial surveys of Wyoming residents have been conducted by the UW Department of Political Science since 1972.

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