Republicans love their tax law. Voters aren’t so sure. – BERNIE BECKER 01/29/2018 06:08 PM EST


With polls showing Republicans have yet to make the sale on the tax bill, it’s not clear how much the new law will help them in November.

“The tax bill has everything to do with the success of the American people,” said Republican Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (center). “And if the American people are successful, they are going to show that at the ballot box.” | Al Drago/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is sure to get plenty of applause during Tuesday’s State of the Union address when he mentions the $1.5 trillion tax cut he signed into law in December.

But with polls showing Republicans have yet to make the sale on the tax bill, it’s not clear how much the new law will help them in November.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a group with close ties to House GOP leadership, recently found that voters in battleground districts are more likely to think Republicans raised their taxes than cut them. And a recent Pew Research Center survey found that only around a third of adults thought the tax bill would help them and the country as a whole.

“It’s hard to envision a positive outcome in November if the middle class doesn’t think we cut their taxes,” said Corry Bliss, the Leadership Fund’s executive director.

If anything, the fight over taxes is only about to escalate. Democratic lawmakers are holding “teach-ins” against the measure in their districts. As conservative groups prepare to spend tens of millions of dollars to sell the law, Democrats are preparing their own ad campaigns to portray it as helping only the rich.

Around 4 in 5 taxpayers are expected to get a tax cut this year, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, and workers will start seeing bigger paychecks within weeks. But one other problem facing the GOP is that an average worker could get only about a $30 boost every two weeks, leading to questions about how much voters will notice.

To sway public perceptions, Republicans and their allies are planning to spend tens of millions of dollars on digital and television ads.

Groups affiliated with billionaire donors Charles and David Koch plan to spend $20 million this year to sell the tax changes to voters, on top of $20 million also spent to help shepherd the bill through Congress.

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