Poll: Likely Voters Support ‘Wall Street Tax Act’


The levy would target high-frequency trading and is projected to generate $777 billion over a 10-year period. 

By Bilal Baydoun and Sean McElwee
The Appeal

A February poll from Data for Progress and The Lab, a policy vertical of The Appeal, shows that a majority of likely voters want Congress to pass the “Wall Street Tax Act,” federal legislation that would promote equity, fairness, and raise revenue through a tax on trades of certain financial instruments. The results show that:

Fifty four percent of overall voters — including 69 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents — support passage of the measure, which would generate an estimated $777 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period.

The proposed measure would tax sales of stocks, bonds and derivatives at a rate of 0.1 percent — the equivalent of 10 cents per $100 sold. In addition to raising new revenue, the tax is designed to target a practice known as high-frequency trading (HFT), which often involves complex algorithms that execute a slew of trades in milliseconds based on miniscule shifts in prices. It would largely exempt long-term assets such as employee retirement accounts, according to Rep. Peter DeFazio, the bill’s primary sponsor.

This type of tax, known as a financial transaction tax (FTT), is progressive given that the wealthiest 1- percent of American families own over 80 percent of overall equities, according to the Federal Reserve Board.

Polling & Findings

In a national survey of likely voters, we provided respondents with the following background on the Wall Street Tax Act: federal lawmakers were considering a bill that would place a tax of 0.1 percent on trades for $100 sold, and would primarily impact “high-frequency” trading, not long-term investments such as employee retirement accounts. High frequency trading involves buying and selling a high volume of shares within a short period of time. It is estimated that this tax could raise $777 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period.

Polling Methodology 

From Feb. 5 to Feb. 7, 2021, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1213 likely voters nationally using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ± 2.8 percentage points.

This article is from The Appeal, a non-profit media organization that produces news and commentary on how policy, politics, and the legal system affect America’s most vulnerable people.

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