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Gallup: Romney has 'significant' support from those least likely to pay income taxes

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President Obama enjoys greater support than Republican Mitt Romney among those making less than $50,000 per year, but about a third of those whose household incomes are less than $24,000 still support the former Massachusetts governor, Gallup said Tuesday.

Mr. Obama holds a 3-point advantage, 48 percent to 45 percent, in an analysis of Gallup tracking polls between Aug. 27 and Sept. 16. Though 58 percent of those making below $24,000 per year support Mr. Obama, 34 percent support Mr. Romney.

“Americans who pay no income tax cover the entire income spectrum, but most research shows that a large percentage of those non-payers are those in the lowest income households,” wrote Frank Newport of Gallup. “Yet, even among those who make less than $24,000 a year in household income, 34% say they will vote for Romney.”

Mr. Romney has come under fire after the release of secretly-taped video recordings at a Florida fundraiser for saying he wasn’t worried about persuading the 47 percent of Americans who automatically support the president because many of them don’t pay income taxes and therefore wouldn’t be attracted to his agenda of tax cuts. Slightly more than 46 percent of the country doesn’t pay income taxes.

Meanwhile, seniors dependent on social security are also likely to pay nothing in income taxes; Mr. Romney led Mr. Obama among voters ages 60 and older, the polling showed. Further, fifty-three percent of voters between ages 70 and 79 support Mr. Romney, compared to 41 percent who support Mr. Obama.

The Gallup analysis showed that among voters aged 65 and older who have $24,000 a year in income or less, Obama gets 49 percent of the vote and 43 percent support Mr. Romney.

“Romney’s comments in the recently released video clip from a May fundraiser implied that he has written off as certain Obama voters about half of the population who he alleges pay no income tax,” Mr. Newport wrote. “Gallup does not track voters who pay no income tax, so it is not possible to isolate these voters precisely. Still, government data suggest that those who are most likely to pay no income tax are those who have very low incomes and are the youngest and oldest segments of society. Recent Gallup Daily tracking data show Romney has significant support among any of these segments: those with the lowest incomes, the young, the old, and the older voters who have low incomes.”

The Obama campaign and the White House have immediately pounced on Mr. Romney’s remarks.

“When you’re president of the United States, you’re president of all the people, not just the people who voted for you,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

The Romney campaign, meanwhile, said Mr. Obama is trying to distract voters from the weak economy.

“In the Obama economy, American families have suffered from chronic unemployment, increased poverty and falling incomes,” said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams. “At every turn, as the economic pain Americans feel increases, the president has proposed failed policies that have led to more and more government, and greater and greater debt. Mitt Romney’s plan for a stronger middle class will create 12 million new jobs and move Americans off of government dependency and into greater prosperity.”

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