You’d think from recent blog posts I’ve written that our company does a lot of work in the political arena. We don’t. Not a penny of business, in fact. We’ve dabbled in politics before but always walked away. The harsh truth is that it’s nearly impossible to be ‘non-partisan’ as a service provider in politics. You either have to pick a side – and alienate the other half of the business landscape – or relegate yourself to less partisan organizations who always seem to have less money in their coffers. It’s simply not worth it.
I write about politics for fun, because I can, and to (hopefully) share a new, data-driven perspective on otherwise-visceral topics. I always reserve judgment and never, ever allow my personal views – unless you count cynicism – to influence my analysis. Still, even my most vigilant attempts at objectivity attract daggers from one side or the other. Everyone assumes you have an agenda.
So, I don’t often discover data in our system about political topics I can write about without drawing the ire of one full side of the political aisle. But I found something last week. Look at this:
Voting-age U.S. adults agree by a factor of over two to one that Presidential candidates should be required to release their tax returns to the public. One notable thing about these results is that we over-sampled Republicans (35% of respondents) and Independents (38%) so we could analyze those groups more deeply. Given that 74% of Democrats (28% of respondents) answered “Yes” to the question, we know the top-line results would have been even more tilted if we weighted them by Party ID.
No matter how we sliced the numbers, respondents of every party affiliation and ideology sided the same way. 48% of Republicans believe candidates should be required by law to publish their tax returns, versus 33% who said “No.” Independents voted 64% in favor, with 23% opposing. Self-described Liberals (65:7), Moderates (68:16) and even Conservatives (45:42) all leaned in one direction.
The debate over presidential candidates releasing their tax returns is not new. Just four years ago, Mitt Romney faced a great deal of pressure to release his, until he did. Only one candidate in modern times, Gerald Ford, won the Presidency without publishing his tax returns. With Donald Trump having yet to release his and the Democratic National Convention just days away, expect this topic to heat up yet again. It’s a rare issue with widespread consensus, a veritable unicorn in today’s divisive political environment.