CAPS/Harris Poll on Budget and Taxes


Friday, April 21, 2017 (All day)

April 20, 2017

New Harvard CAPS – Harris Poll looks at public opinion on taxes, the Trump administrations first budget, and foreign policy on Syria and North Korea.

The third monthly Harvard CAPS – Harris Poll, released this week in conjunction with The Hill, finds low approval ratings among registered voters for the U.S. tax system and continued focus by voters on the need to stimulate the economy and jobs as the top priority for the administration and its proposed budget for 2018. The findings also show that most voters (60%) approve of President Trump’s military strikes in Syria, but are concerned about the administration’s handling of tensions in North Korea (52%) and oppose strikes on North Korea’s nuclear facilities (55% oppose).

The nationwide poll of 2,027 registered voters was conducted online by The Harris Poll in the United States between April, 14-17 2017. Key findings include:

State of the Country

  • Similar to previous months, voters feel the economy is on the right track (41% vs. 38% wrong track). Additionally, about 3 in 5 voters (61%) say the economy is strong.
  • However, views for the direction of the country remain down, with 36% saying we are on the right track vs. 50% wrong track.
  • Favorability and approval for President Trump have seen a slight dip after the Healthcare vote, but overall are steady. 44% have a favorable opinion of the President vs. 51% unfavorable. 48% approve of how he is handling the job vs. 52% who disapprove of his performance.
  • Voters – by a two to 1 margin – feel that stimulating American hobs should be the top priority of the Trump administration.
  • A majority of voters (55%) approve of Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. 
  • A majority of voters (54%) feel President Trump should continue to pass healthcare reform rather than move on to other issues (46%)


  • 2 in 3 voters feel federal taxes are too high and over half feel that paying taxes is frustrating (66%), confusing (57%), and patriotic (47%). However, only 38% think paying taxes is good for the country.
  • The U.S. Federal Tax System receives low ratings on a range of attributes, including simplicity (25%), efficiency (25%), fairness (27%), ability to stimulate jobs and the economy (27%), fair enforcement of rules and laws (27%), helping people get an education, healthcare, or a home (35%), it brings in the revenue needed to run the government (53%).
  • 62% give the Internal Revenue Service negative job ratings.
  • A majority (71%) favors key parts of Trump’s income tax plan.  
  • 62% support a border tax and 53% believe a border tax would expand jobs and the economy.


  • 43% of voters feel stimulating the economy should be the top government budget priority – compared with 17% who want improved domestic infrastructure, 17% who want help for the poor, elderly, and others in need, and 10% who want to improve national defense as the top priority.
  • 72% of voters feel it is important to reduce the budget deficit.
  • Majority of voters support a budget proposal to increase defense spending by 10% and cut other discretionary spending by 10%
  • Most voters (62%) are against building a wall along the Mexican border as part of the 2018 budget, and a majority (56%) believe that democrats should withhold support if an infrastructure bill includes funding for the wall
  • A super-majority of voters (91%) are very or somewhat converned for the state of infrastructure in the country today

Full results from the poll are available HERE or at


The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll online within the United States between April 14-17, 2017 among 2,027 registered voters. 

The results reflect a nationally representative sample. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

The poll was supervised by Harvard Professor of Government Stephen Ansolabehere, Mark Penn, and Dritan Nesho. Mark Penn is a former presidential pollster and has 40 years of polling experience. Stephen Ansolabehere has 25 years experience conducting survey research and experimental research in the field of political science. Dritan Nesho is a fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences.

Harris Insights and Analytics conducts the poll based on online methodologies they have been using for more than a decade and the results are donated to the Harvard Center for American Political Studies.

The results are represented as the results of the questions asked according to The Harris Poll methodology. 


See also: Polls