Here’s something that is a bit of a surprise: While most Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to a higher federal gasoline tax, their views change if the tax were to be earmarked for specific ends:
"A significant number would go along with an increase if it reduced global warming or made the United States less dependent on foreign oil, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The nationwide telephone poll, conducted Wednesday through Sunday, suggested that a gasoline tax increase that brought measurable results would be acceptable to a majority of Americans.
Neither the Bush administration nor Democratic Party leaders make that distinction. Both are opposed to increasing the gasoline tax as a means of discouraging consumption, although President Bush, in recent speeches, has called for the development of alternative energy to reduce dependence on foreign oil."
This is more than a classic example of how a question is phrased that generates a different answer; This is a polling question addressing a specifically different issue beyond the gas tax question. It is in part a referendum question on faith in Congress on spending and priorities.
Click for larger graphic
Courtesy of NYT
No suprise that the Dismal set disagree:
"Many mainstream economists believe that a shift that raises the gasoline tax while lowering income-based taxes is the most efficient way to reduce consumption. It might require a $1-a-gallon increase in the tax phased in over five years, said Severin Borenstein, director of an energy institute at the University of California, Berkeley."
Americans Are Cautiously Open to Gas Tax Rise, Poll Shows
LOUIS UCHITELLE and MEGAN THEE
NYT, February 28, 2006