Narrow majority wants Romney to release more tax returns: Poll

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

A narrow majority of Americans want Mitt Romney to reverse course and release more than the two years of tax returns he has said he will make public, according to a new poll published Thursday by USA Today and immediately promoted by President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said the Republican standard-bearer should disclose more of his tax returns, including 75 percent of Democrats, 53 percent of independents, and 30 percent of Republicans, the newspaper reported.

What would happen to Romney's chances of getting the keys to the White House in November? Forty-two percent said the additional returns would turn up nothing to hurt him, but 44 percent said the new information could damage his prospects, including 15 percent who said it would show the former Massachusetts governor is "unfit to be president." Unsurprisingly, there was a partisan split: 2 out of 3 Republicans shrugged off the potential downside, while 1 out of 3 Democrats predicted the disclosure would prove Romney doesn't belong in the Oval Office.

The poll, conducted Wednesday, had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.The Romney campaign—from the candidate himself on down—has rejected calls to disclose more of his tax returns and insisted his personal financial dealings have been entirely above-board. The Obama campaign has suggested the vastly successful investor has something to hide—and worked to frame the election as a choice between two visions of the country's economic future, not a referendum on the last three and a half years.

The USA Today poll found that the public is divided on the merits of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns. Forty-seven percent called the practice "largely irrelevant" to how they cast their ballots, while 44 percent said it led to voters making "better decisions."