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To Hike or Not to Hike? 'One Percenters' Conflicted on Taxes

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The "one percenters" may be conflicted about impending tax hikes that Congress passed on Tuesday.

About 38% of the top 1% of income earners -- those households reporting income of $450,000 or more -- and 36% of the "core affluent" -- those earning $150,000 to $450,000 -- responded that they believed the adjusted gross income tax should be raised on those earning $500,000 or more, according to a fiscal fourth-quarter 2012 survey by Harrison Group in partnership with American Express Publishing.

This showed a more tepid response from a fiscal first-quarter 2012 survey that had previously reported support among 39% of one percenters and 38% of the core affluent. A smaller fraction of one percenters and core affluent responded that the government should not increase income tax rates on anyone, with 33% of one percenters and 21% of core affluent against all taxes.

The report comes as Congress has passed legislation to increase the top tax rate to 39.6% from 35% on individuals earning $400,000 or more and families making more than $450,000.

There was less support among the two groups for tax hikes on those earning $100,000 to $250,000 (18% of one percenters and 23% of core affluent supported increases), and fewer favor for tax hikes on those earning $300,000 to just less than $450,000 (12% of one percenters and 19% of core affluent).

The survey asked respondents to identify themselves either as Democrat, Republican or independent/other, and found that among one percenters, 37% identified as Republican, 29% as Democrat and 34% as independent/other. Among the core affluent, 40% identified as Republican, 29% as Democrat and 31% as independent/other.

The adjusted gross income threshold for which at least half of all one percenters and core affluent supported a tax hike was $300,000 or more.

The online survey had 3,524 respondents in 2012 by consumers in households with more than $100,000 of discretionary income.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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