For Tax Reform to Get More Popular, Trump Needs to Get More Popular

In an interview with POLITICO’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer this week, Vice President Mike Pence announced an aggressive travel schedule over the next few months aimed at helping to raise money for GOP House and Senate candidates and to promote the GOP tax cut legislation. This comes on the heels of the announcement by the Koch brothers political arm to invest at least $20 million in selling the benefits of the law; a law which even GOP strategists concede remains unpopular . Republicans are also counting on continuing economic good news — whether a rising stock market or the latest news that wages are starting to see some modest increase — to help sell their only significant legislative accomplishment.

Meanwhile, Democrats remain sanguine about these efforts. They point to polling showing Americans overwhelmingly believe that the wealthy, not the middle class, will benefit the most from the new law. This belief, said one Democratic strategist this week, is “baked in” and won’t dissipate even as employees start to see more money in their paychecks.

For all the spinning and posturing there remains a fundamental challenge for the Republicans: the tax bill won’t become more popular unless the president becomes more popular.

In fact, if you look at national support for the tax legislation, you will see that it lines up almost exactly with voters’ overall perception of the president.

In other words, if you like the president, you like the tax reform legislation. If you don’t like Trump, you either don’t like the bill or you are undecided about it. It is a reminder that whatever the president touches carries his polarizing brand.

Even as voters are overwhelmingly positive about the economy, it doesn’t translate to their opinions of the president or the tax law.

For example, even as 58 percent of voters in the ABC/Washington Post survey say they feel good about the state of the economy, just 38 percent approve of the job Trump is doing as president and just 34 percent approve of the tax law. This is why, despite his reputation as the best salesman in America, Trump is hamstrung on promoting the new law. And, why the low-key and more message disciplined Vice President is the one headed out to promote the tax cuts and the economy.



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