(Add new quote in paragraph 6)
By Chris Kahn
NEW YORK Oct 4 Republican presidential nominee
Donald Trump says paying no income tax would make him "smart."
While nearly half of Americans agree with him, more people think
it is "selfish," and "unpatriotic," according to a Reuters/Ipsos
opinion poll released on Tuesday.
Some 67 percent of Americans said it is "selfish" for a
presidential candidate to pay no taxes, while 61 percent said it
is "unpatriotic," according to the poll, which allowed
respondents to pick more than one adjective to describe paying
At the same time, the results showed some respect for a
candidate who can figure out how to reduce their tax bill. Some
46 percent of Americans, including 35 percent of Democrats and
62 percent of Republicans, thought a presidential candidate who
pays no taxes is "smart."
Trump's taxes have become a big campaign issue after the New
York Times released a portion of his 1995 tax returns last week
and estimated that Trump likely paid no taxes for a number of
years. The celebrity real estate developer, who is the first
presidential candidate in decades to refuse to release his full
tax returns, didn't deny the report. He later said that he had
"brilliantly used" U.S. tax rules to his advantage.
During the first presidential debate with his rival Democrat
Hillary Clinton last month, Trump responded to Clinton's
allegation that he paid no federal taxes by saying that would
make him "smart."
"What is he trying to say: that those of us who pay taxes
aren't intelligent?" said poll respondent Yonna McNerney, 41, of
Denver. "I started working at the age of 16, and I've always
paid taxes," she said. "Not paying taxes, I don't think that's
McNerney, a mother of three who works at a
telecommunications company, remains uncommitted in the race and
said Trump's comments about taxes haven't changed her mind one
way or the other.
April St. Aoro, 46, who works for a manufacturing firm near
St. Cloud, Minnesota, was more understanding of Trump's point of
view, though she also remains undecided in the race.
"I think all of us are trying to pay as little taxes as
possible," St. Aoro said.
Respondents were slightly less critical when asked to
describe a private citizen paying no taxes.
Some 64 percent agreed it was "selfish," while just over
half agreed it was "unpatriotic." Some 50 percent, including 37
percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans, agreed that
it was "smart."
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in
all 50 states. Respondents were asked what they thought of "a
private citizen who has found a way to pay no income taxes," and
given the choice to agree or disagree to the words "smart,"
"selfish," and "unpatriotic."
They were then asked the same set of questions about a
The Sept. 28-Oct. 3 poll was part of a larger national
tracking poll that tracks public opinion every day. It included
1,948 American adults, including 893 Democrats and 635
Republicans. It has a credibility interval, a measure of
accuracy, of 3 percentage points for the entire sample, 4
percentage points for Democrats only and 5 percentage points for
(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Ross Colvin)