By Kevin RobillardFor POLITICO.COM
More than seven out of 10 Americans believe Mitt Romney's policies would benefit the wealthy, while President Barack Obama has an advantage over his Republican counterpart when it comes to helping the middle class, according to a poll released Monday.
Half of all Americans think Obama's policies would help the middle class, compared with only 40 percent for Romney, according to the Pew Research Center poll. Sixty percent think Obama's policies would help the poor, compared with only 31 percent for Romney.Seventy-one percent believe Romney's policies would aid the rich, and only 37 percent believe the same of Obama, Pew found.
While Americans don't think Romney will do much to help the middle class, he does better than either political party. Only 23 percent said the GOP favors the middle class, compared with 35 percent for Democrats. Close to two-thirds of Americans 63 percent said Republicans favor the wealthy. Only 32 percent said the same about Democrats and the poor.
So far, the major policy battle regarding wealth in the presidential campaign has focused on the extension of the Bush-era tax rates. Obama has promised to let the rates expire for incomes above $250,000, while Romney has campaigned on an extension of all the cuts.
A majority of Americans 58 percent said the wealthy don't pay their fair share in taxes, and one-fifth of Americans said the same of the poor. Only 38 percent of Americans said the middle class pays too much in taxes, with half saying middle-income Americans pay their fair share.
The poll of 2,508 adults was conducted last month and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.Kevin Robillard is a reporter for POLITICO. POLITICO and ABC News 4 have partnered for the 2012 presidential campaign cycle.