AP-GfK poll: Americans divide on importance of tax returns

AP News
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Posted: Sep 27, 2016 7:38 PM
AP-GfK poll: Americans divide on importance of tax returns

WASHINGTON (AP) — American voters are divided along party lines about whether it's important for presidential candidates to release their tax returns, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

Democrat Hillary Clinton has released her tax returns to the public, while Republican Donald Trump has not.

Voters have mixed opinions on whether Trump's tax returns are getting too much or too little attention from the media. The poll also finds a dramatic divide on whether the media are paying too much or too little attention to Clinton's use of a private email address while she was secretary of state.

Here are some things to know about what Americans think about the transparency of the two candidates and what they've disclosed to voters in the 2016 campaign:

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TAX RETURNS AND MEDICAL RECORDS

More than 6 in 10 Democrats say it's very or extremely important for candidates to release their tax returns, while fewer than 3 in 10 Republicans say the same.

Overall, just under half of registered voters — 46 percent — call it very important, 2 in 10 say it's somewhat important and more than 3 in 10 say it's only slightly or not at all important.

That's more than say it's important for candidates to release their medical records. Just under 4 in 10 voters say that's very or extremely important, while 2 in 10 call it moderately important and another 4 in 10 call it slightly or not at all important. Democrats and Republicans are about equally likely to call that important.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

The poll also shows voters are split on how much attention Trump not releasing his tax returns should be getting from the media, with about a third saying that's getting too much attention, a third saying it's getting too little, and another third saying it's getting about the right amount of attention.

A slim majority of Democratic voters think that story is getting too little attention, while a slim majority of Republican voters think it's getting too much.

Meanwhile, voters are somewhat more likely to say Clinton's use of a private email address on a personal server while she was secretary of state is getting too much attention than too little, 41 percent to 36 percent. Here there's a dramatic partisan divide, with 7 in 10 Democrats seeing too much attention and 7 in 10 Republicans seeing too little.

A 41 percent plurality of voters say Donald Trump's business background is getting the right amount of attention, while just 23 percent say it's getting too much and 35 percent too little. Thirty-five percent want more attention paid to the Clinton Foundation and 28 percent want less, while 36 percent say the current coverage is about right.

Democrats are most likely to want more coverage of Trump's business background, while Republicans want more of a spotlight on the Clinton Foundation.

Many voters (44 percent) say they think the media are paying too much attention to Clinton's health. Just 24 percent say it's getting too little attention, while 31 percent say it's getting about the right amount of attention.

Fifty-three percent of voters say Trump's health is getting about the right amount of attention, 26 percent say they're seeing too much and 19 percent too little.

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WHO'S HEALTHY ENOUGH?

Registered voters are more confident that Trump is healthy enough to be president than they are about Clinton, the poll shows. Just over a third of voters (36 percent) say they're extremely or very confident that the Democratic nominee would be healthy enough to serve, while just over half (51 percent) are confident that the Republican nominee would be.

And Democratic voters are more likely to give the other side the benefit of the doubt.

Among Democratic voters, 62 percent are confident that Clinton is healthy enough to be president, 72 percent of Republican voters are confident that Trump is. Only 12 percent of Republican voters say they're very confident Clinton is healthy enough to be president, while 36 percent of Democratic voters are confident that Trump is.

Men are more likely than women to say they're only slightly or not at all confident that Clinton is healthy enough to be president, 45 percent to 34 percent. Men and women are about equally likely to express confidence about Trump's health.

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The AP-GfK Poll of 1,694 adults, including 1,476 registered voters, was conducted online Sept. 15-19, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, and for registered voters is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't have access to the internet were provided access for free.

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Online:

Poll results: http://ap-gfkpoll.com

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Follow AP Polling Editor Emily Swanson on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/El_Swan