Poll: Iowans Prefer a U.S. Senate Candidate with a Tax Fairness Agenda

 New Poll Shows Iowa Voters More Likely to Vote for a U.S. Senate Candidate Who Supports ‘Tax Fairness’ Over Other Issues 

Voters oppose Burger King’s plan to become a Canadian company to dodge taxes

DES MOINES – A new poll of likely Iowa voters reveals that a range of tax fairness issues are more important to voters when choosing a U.S. Senate candidate than are many issues currently being emphasized by U.S. Representative Bruce Braley and state Senator Joni Ernst.

The survey also shows that Iowa voters strongly disapprove of corporate inversions, a growing trend in which American corporations such as Burger King renounce their U.S. “citizenship” in order to avoid paying their fair share of federal taxes.

The poll was released today in Des Moines, Waterloo and Mason City by Iowa Citizen Action Network (IOWACAN), Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund (ICCIAF) and the Iowa chapter of Americans for Democratic Action (ADA). The poll of 816 likely voters was conducted by Public Policy Polling in coordination with the national organization Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund (ATFAF). The poll also shows that Ernst leads Braley by 45% to 43%, with 12% undecided.

The survey finds that by an eight-to-one margin, 81% to 10%, Iowa voters are more likely to vote for “a candidate who wants to close tax loopholes and use that money to create jobs by improving our roads, bridges and schools.” Wide majorities of Democrats (95%), Republicans (69%) and independents (81%) support this position.

The poll also reveals that by more than three-to-one, 70% to 20%, Iowans are more likely to vote for “a candidate who wants to make sure that the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes.” The result was comparable to the percentage of Iowa voters who say they are more likely to vote for “a candidate who will keep a strong Renewable Fuels Standard,” 72% to 17%. And the result substantially exceeded the percentage of Iowa voters who said they were more likely to vote for “a candidate who wants to repeal and replace Obamacare,” 55% to 38%, or “a candidate who wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour,” 54% to 37%.

Voters also expressed strong opinions about “tax inversions.” By more than a three-to-one margin, 70% to 20%, Iowa voters disapproved of “tax inversions, a practice where an American company becomes a subsidiary of another company in a foreign country for the purpose of reducing its taxes.” (The margin is similar to a recent nationwide poll on corporate inversions.)

Iowa voters also strongly oppose Burger King’s plan to desert the United States – on paper – for Canada. By a margin of 71% to 24% they oppose Burger King’s plans to “change its corporate address to Canada from the United States to reduce what it pays in taxes.”

“A strong bipartisan majority of Iowans clearly prefers a Senate candidate who supports closing corporate tax loopholes and ending tax breaks for the wealthy,” said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling. “The tax fairness agenda is supported by voters more than most other top issues emphasized by Senate candidates.  That suggests that a candidate who supports tax fairness issues could get an edge in this race.”


“Iowa families are angry that our tax system is riddled with loopholes benefitting corporations and the rich,” said Sue Dinsdale, executive director of Iowa Citizen Action Network. “They want tax fairness – no special deals for the powerful.”

“We’d like the Senate candidates to tell us whose side they are on?,” said Chris Schwartz, community organizer for Americans for Democratic Action. “Are they with the public on the questions asked in this poll, or are they on the side of wealthy Americans and big corporations that are not paying their fair share of taxes?”

“A restaurant owner in Des Moines knows that she can’t pretend to move her business to Toronto to avoid paying taxes,” said Matthew Covington, community organizer for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund. “Iowa voters clearly think that it’s wrong for Burger King to desert America to avoid paying its fair share in taxes.”

“The numbers are too big to ignore,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund. “The overwhelming majority of Iowa families want a fairer tax system and they want a new senator who will fight for it, just like Sen. Tom Harkin has done.”

The poll surveyed 816 likely Iowa voters from August 28 to 30 using automated telephone interviews. The margin of error is +/-3.4%. 80% of interviews for the poll were conducted over the phone with 20% interviewed over the internet to reach respondents who don’t have landline telephones.


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