"Raise taxes on the rich!" Say a Majority of Americans.

I don't know what the Associated Press has against counting higher numbers, but this is a very annoying headline:  "Nearly Half Oppose Tax Hikes for Rich." Here's how the article opens:

Almost half the country opposes tax increases for the richest Americans, according to a poll suggesting that congressional Democrats are taking some risk by backing President Barack Obama's plan to boost levies on the wealthy.

Of course, the converse of "nearly half" is "more than half," and the quoted poll -- a new survey by AP-Gfk -- makes this clear. According to the poll, 54 percent of voters support raising taxes on the highest earners, while 44 percent oppose. On the whole, voters aren't thrilled about GOP policies -- period -- and are mostly rewarding Republicans for their success at not being Democrats. Here's my question for the AP's headline writer: Why focus on the plurality that wants the tax cuts, when a much larger majority would rather "soak the rich" in slightly higher marginal tax rates? What's more, if a solid majority supports raising taxes on the richest Americans, how does this imply risk for congressional Democrats that back President Obama's plan to do so? If anything, the opposite is true; Democrats risk angering voters by carrying water for the wealthy.

Not to disparage the AP -- they're helpful! -- but sometimes, things aren't actually good for Republicans.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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