January 19, 2015
Madison Grady

Majority of Oklahomans believe 'lower tax rates create higher tax revenues'

It's a simple concept that conservatives and Republicans like to talk about: when it comes to creating more tax revenues to support government services, lower tax rates put more money in consumers' pockets and their spending creates more taxes to collect.

Recent news coverage in Oklahoma has been predicting a budget shortfall in 2015, and liberals and Democrats in the state have warned legislators that following through with more incremental tax cuts will leave an even greater deficit.

So, we decided to see if Oklahomans believe like Republicans and conservatives do, or like Democrats and liberals. In SoonerPoll's most recent quarterly poll, 54 percent of Oklahoma likely voters believe lower tax rates create higher tax revenues. While 14.3 percent did not know or had no opinion, just under one-in-three voters disagreed.

[box] [QUESTION] Would you AGREE or DISAGREE with the following statement: "Lower tax rates create higher tax revenues."

1. Strongly agree31.4%2. Somewhat agree22.63. Neutral/Don't know14.34. Somewhat disagree15.95. Strongly disagree15.8



Obviously, there was a divide among Republican and Democrat voters, with a 28.5 point spread between the two parties on agreement with the statement, but still 40.2 percent of Democrats agreed that lower tax rates create higher tax revenues. While a strong 67.7 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement, still a majority (52.3 percent) of Independents agreed as well.

Jonathan Small, the executive vice president with the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs, Oklahoma's leading conservative think tank, says that no one is asserting tax cuts will always result immediately in higher revenues for state government — not even Art Laffer or the Laffer Curve itself, he says, would make that claim.

"It's clear from these poll results, however, that many Oklahomans understand that, over the long term, states and nations with low-tax environments have more prosperous economies and often have better government revenue growth," said Small, "just as the states with no personal income tax have had faster revenue growth over the last decade than the highest-taxed states and the nation."

As expected, 66.3 percent of participants that identified themselves as very conservative agreed with the statement, while only 30.3 percent of very liberals did, but it should be noted that conservatives make up about 55 percent of the entire Oklahoma electorate. Moderates are not completely convinced, as 45.6 percent agree with the statement and 37.7 percent disagree.

Interestingly, men were nearly 18 points more likely to strongly agree with the statement then women were, yet women were nearly ten points more likely to somewhat agree, meaning the strength of agreement was much stronger with men than women.

There was no significant differences among participants with varying degrees of education, from high school graduates to those with a post-graduate degree.

"There is a majority of Oklahoma voters that agree that lower tax rates will create higher tax revenues," said SoonerPoll founder Bill Shapard. "The question is, will a majority of legislators and the governor agree when incremental tax cuts come up in the legislature this upcoming session."

About the Poll

The poll of 403 likely voters in Oklahoma was commissioned and conducted Dec 8-19, 2014 by and included 88 cellphone and 318 landline users. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.88 percentage points.

Poll results were weighted by age and congressional district, stratified by Oklahoma likely voters statewide. This poll conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

The poll's Call Disposition and Rate Calculation report can be viewed here.

Madison Grady
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Madison Grady