WASHINGTON – The vast majority of registered voters view paying taxes as a “civic duty,” including 79% of Donald Trump’s supporters, according to a new poll.
Nearly all registered voters surveyed — 86% — say they see paying taxes as every American’s civic duty, while 12% say that they see taxes as an unnecessary burden to be avoided, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday.
Most of the interviews from the poll were completed before Saturday night’s report from The New York Times that revealed Trump might have avoided income taxes for the last 18 years after declaring a $916 million loss in 1995.
The Times did not look at Trump’s federal return. It obtained one page of his New York State resident income tax returns as well as the first page of New Jersey and Connecticut nonresident returns. CNN has not independently verified the documents’ authenticity, but Trump’s campaign has not challenged any of the facts reported by The Times.
Before The Times report, Hillary Clinton raised questions during the first presidential debate about whether Trump had paid income tax in some years, which Trump didn’t deny.
In fact, he said: “That makes me smart.”
The findings from the leaked tax returns threatened to put the controversy over Trump’s unprecedented refusal to release them as the focus of his presidential campaign with less than 40 days until the election.
The poll also found that 73% of registered voters surveyed think Trump should release his tax returns for public review, including about half of Republicans at 49%.
And out of the voters surveyed, 57% believe that Trump is hiding something by not releasing his tax returns while 33% believe that he’s holding back due to the audit — although Trump is allowed to release his tax returns regardless of the audit.
It’s been one of the toughest weeks for Trump’s campaign after he struggled to bounce back from his widely panned debate performance, in which analysts and scientifically conducted polls considered Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as the winner.
The poll showed Clinton topping Trump 47% to 42% among likely voters with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson at 7% and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 2%.
The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone September 28 through October 2 among a random national sample of 1,501 adults. Results among the 1,213 likely voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. It is 2.5 percentage points among the 1,335 registered voters interviewed.
By Daniella Diaz, CNN