Thursday, July 19, 2012

Candidates' Tax Returns

Mitt Romney's unwillingness to release more than two years of tax returns is currently getting a lot of attention in the media.   The Romney campaign says "there is no evidence that voters care about this.  They think they know enough about Mitt Romney's finances."  Of course, this is what you'd expect the Romney campaign to say, but there are a lot of things that seem important to journalists and political insiders but not to the public (pretty much all "gaffes," for example).  I didn't expect to find many surveys asking about Romney's tax returns, although that may change soon if the issue stays in the news, so I looked for more general questions about candidates and tax returns.  To my surprise, there were only a handful.  The most interesting one is from back in 1988, asking "if it would prevent you from voting for the candidate or if it would have no effect" if a candidate "refused to release tax returns to the public."  72% said it would prevent them and 19% said it would have no effect.  They also asked about a number of other things.  The complete list:
                                          Prevent from voting for
Was known to have physically
    abused spouse or child                        91%
Refused to release tax returns                    72%
Was homosexual                                    65%
Had been convicted for drunk driving              57%
Said religion dictated his/her decisions          57%
Did not believe in God                            56%
Refused to be tested for AIDS                     54%
Had used drugs occasionally                       47%
 Had extra-marital affairs                        43%
Family member had criminal conviction             21%
Has a child out of wedlock                        21%

So there's evidence that voters care about releasing tax returns in general, although not about whether two years versus ten years makes a difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment