80% back rise in tax on rich, poll indicates THE POLITICAL SCENE

November 21, 1992|By The Gallup Organization

PRINCETON, N.J. -- President-elect Bill Clinton will soon be able to test the "mandate for change" his election has been said to represent, but there appears to be little political cost to Mr. Clinton if he proceeds with raising taxes on the rich, mandating family leave or removing restrictions on abortion counseling at federally funded clinics.

According to a new Gallup Poll, an overwhelming majority -- 80 percent -- of Americans support raising federal income taxes on those making more than $200,000; 17 percent oppose the idea. This is almost as true among Republicans -- with 71 percent in favor -- as among Democrats, with 88 percent in favor. The raise in taxes is supported by 82 percent of those who supported independent presidential candidate Ross Perot.

Three-quarters of Americans, including statistically equal levels of men and women, favor requiring companies to allow employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a new baby or for a serious family illness, according to the poll. While Mr. Bush vetoed mandatory family leave, the new poll shows Republicans as well as Democrats support such a policy change.

A majority of Americans -- 65 percent -- favor allowing doctors and health-care workers at federally funded clinics to discuss abortion with their patients by groups, the poll found. College-educated Americans are much more likely to favor abortion counseling rights than those with no college education, by 74 percent to 56 percent.

Mr. Clinton has also promised change in areas that appeal to generally Democratic constituencies such as labor unions, feminists and homosexual-rights groups. While these groups provided strong financial and political backing for Mr. Clinton's candidacy, satisfying their agendas may be a difficult task. Only slim majorities of Americans support allowing women in the military into combat jobs -- 55 percent in favor to 42 percent in opposition -- or allowing gays to serve in the military -- 49 percent to 45 percent.

Of the items presented in the poll, the least popular on Mr. Clinton's menu for change was his proposal to ban companies from hiring permanent replacement workers during strikes. The recent poll shows that 36 percent of Americans favor the so-called "anti-scab" legislation.

The results are based on telephone interviews Nov. 10 and 11 with a sample of 1,004 adults.

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