Americans overwhelmingly oppose any action by Congress to tamper with the mortgage interest deduction, according to a new nationwide survey of likely voters commissioned by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Nearly 80 percent support retaining federal tax incentives to promote homeownership, which have been in the tax code since the introduction of federal income taxes in 1913.
“These poll results show strong national voter support for keeping the mortgage interest deduction that cuts across gender, age, partisan, ideological, educational and regional lines,” said Neil Newhouse, partner at Public Opinion Strategies, which conducted the survey. “Clearly, voters have a very strong connection to the home mortgage interest deduction and are not likely to respond well to efforts to reduce or eliminate it. In fact, voters overwhelmingly say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who supported either eliminating or reducing the home mortgage interest deduction.”
On the issue of tax reform, U.S. voters remain unwavering in their support of the mortgage interest deduction. When asked to rate the importance of preserving tax deductions in the current tax code, an overwhelming number, 81 percent, said it’s important to keep the deduction of mortgage interest on a primary home, ranking it in a virtual tie with medical expenses (82 percent).
In addition, more than three-quarters of respondents (76 percent) cited the importance of keeping the deduction for state and local taxes, including property taxes. Furthermore, those renting their current homes also placed a high priority on preserving the mortgage interest deduction. In ranking the importance of current tax deductions, renters said this provision came in second at 71 percent, behind the deduction for medical expenses.
Public Opinion Strategies conducted the survey Sept. 9 through 12 to assess the public’s attitude toward the mortgage interest deduction and the importance of homeownership.
“As the midterm elections draw near, voters are sending a resounding message to Congress and the Administration: Don’t meddle with the mortgage interest deduction or other tax incentives that support homeownership,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “Voters strongly oppose any action to curtail or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, even when they hear an argument that eliminating the deduction would help reduce the federal deficit.”