(6/27/2011) - Housing-related tax breaks are as American as apple pie and
politicians who want to cut the tax perks that come with housing may want to
consider another line of work.
Nearly three out of four voters -- 73 percent of both owners and renters
-- believe Uncle Sam ought to provide tax benefits to promote homeownership.
The sentiment cut across party lines with 79 percent of Democrats, 71
percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Independents supporting tax perks that come with homeownership.
Even when told that getting rid of the mortgage interest deduction would
help ease the federal budget deficit, 65 percent of voters opposed any
proposal to abolish the tax provision, with 69 percent of Republicans, 69
percent of Independents and 59 percent of Democrats opposing eliminating the
deduction even it would help the federal budget deficit.
Fifty-eight percent of voters residing in House GOP freshmen districts,
58 percent in the House swing districts, 56 percent in Senate toss-up race
districts and 54 percent of voters living in presidential swing states said
that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who
proposed to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction.
"Despite the current housing downturn, Americans still see homeownership
as a core value and a key building block of being in the middle class and
creating strong jobs in their communities," said Celinda Lake, president of
Lake Research Partners.
"The bottom line: The bipartisan consensus outside the Beltway is that
owning a home remains an essential part of the American Dream and voters
would strongly oppose any efforts by lawmakers to increase barriers to
homeownership," Lake said.
Pollsters surveyed 2,000 likely 2012 voters from May 3 through May 9 to
assess the public's attitude following he Great Recession and efforts to
scuttle the mortgage interest deduction and create "Qualified Residential Mortgage"
standards that could price even excellent-credit consumers out of the
The NAHB also found:
Seventy-six percent of respondents in key U. S. Senate races, 75
percent of voters in swing U.S. House of Representative districts, 75
percent among presidential swing states and 71 percent of voters residing in
GOP House freshmen districts support federal government tax incentives to encourage homeownership.
Seventy-one percent of voters oppose proposals to eliminate the
mortgage interest deduction, and 63 percent oppose efforts to reduce it. A
majority are also against eliminating the deduction for interest paid on
home equity loans, ending the deduction for interest paid on a second home,
limiting the deduction for those earning more than $250,000 per year or
capping the deduction for home owners with mortgages over $500,000.
By a more than two-to-one margin (57 percent to 26 percent),
voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports
eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, including 63 percent of
Republicans, 56 percent of Independents, 55 percent of Democrats and 61
percent of Tea Party supporters saying they would be less likely to support
a candidate who favored killing the deduction.
Among voters who are aware of proposals under consideration by
Washington policymakers to raise the down payment requirements for a home loan, 92
percent believe it will make it more difficult to buy a home.
Six federal agencies are proposing a national standard to require a minimum 20
percent down payment, which would be opposed by households most likely to be
affected – mortgage holders and renters ages 18 to 54. Among voters in these
age groups, 59 percent of renters and 58 percent of those holding a mortgage
oppose adding that obstacle to buying a home.
"The polling found that there is a significant disconnect between
Washington policy makers and the nation's electorate when it comes to the
mortgage interest deduction, the importance of homeownership and the need to
keep housing a national priority," said Neil Newhouse, a partner and
co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies.
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