President Barack Obama, at his White House news conference yesterday:
“If there was one thing that everybody understood was a big difference between myself and Mr. Romney, it was, when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, I argued for a balanced, responsible approach, and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay a little bit more.”
“I think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate, and the majority of voters agreed with me … by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me.”
Well, yes and no. Or, perhaps more precisely, no and yes.
Strictly speaking, exit polls showed that 47 percent of more than 26,500 voters interviewed said “yes” when asked if tax rates should be allowed to increase ONLY on income over $250,000 — shorthand for Obama’s position. The president, meanwhile, has won a 50.6 percent share of the popular vote (with a smattering of ballots still being counted) in his defeat of Romney.
The polling also found that 13 percent supported increasing tax rates for all — which Obama has stressed he’d rather not see happen, come January when the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush expire.
Still, the case can be made, as Obama clearly is and will keep doing, that 60 percent support some form of tax increase.
It all depends on how the numbers get crunched — much like the debate on taxes itself.