Washington

Gauging the Impact of the Expanded Child Tax Credit’s Expiration

75% of beneficiaries, who are turning on Democrats in Washington, say the discontinued payments will cause financial strain

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a Child Tax Credit/Earned Income Tax Credit Day of Action event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats ended 2021 with strong support among the subset of the electorate who had received child tax credit payments under the American Rescue Plan Act. But those expanded monthly payments – paid for as part of Biden’s COVID-19 relief package – ended in December, and according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll, voters are feeling the impact.

Sentiment on the expanded child tax credit’s expiration

  • Parents or guardians with at least one child under 18 in the household made up 27 percent of the electorate in the latest survey. Sixty-eight percent of them said they received the payments in 2021 – up from 60 percent in a Dec. 18-20 survey, driven by increases among Republicans and independents.
  • Three in 4 of these voters said the end of the payments will have at least a “minor” impact on their financial security, including 37 percent who expect a “major” impact.
  • Democrats are more likely than Republicans – 88 percent to 57 percent – to report expecting at least some financial strain, while GOP voters are more likely to predict no impact, 43 percent to 12 percent.

The context

The White House kicked off an effort Tuesday to get child tax credit money to parents who did not receive advance monthly payments in 2021. And while the initial round of money slashed domestic child poverty, its continuation got hung up in the debate last year over Biden’s now stalled Build Back Better Act.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have reportedly explored changes to the expanded child tax credit program to lure support from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), but it may not be enough to stave off political pain from the growing chunk of voters that has become more unhappy with Democrats.

The political implications

  • Compared with the December survey, which was conducted before the Build Back Better Act was put on ice, Democrats have virtually surrendered their advantage among child tax credit recipients on the generic congressional ballot: 44 percent say they would vote for the Democratic congressional candidate this year, down from 49 percent, while 43 percent would vote for the Republican, up 6 percentage points.
  • Biden’s approval rating has recently been on the decline among all voters, but it has been more dramatic among child tax credit recipients. The latest survey found 43 percent of those recipients approved of Biden’s job performance, down 13 points since the December poll, while the share who disapprove increased 15 points, to 56 percent. The share of recipients who “strongly” approve of his job performance halved, from 35 percent to 17 percent. 
  • The share of child tax credit recipients with unfavorable views of Democrats in Congress increased from 35 percent to 50 percent since late December, while the share who view congressional Republicans unfavorably increased from 41 percent to 51 percent.
  • The majority of expanded child tax credit recipients (57 percent) disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy, up 14 points since December, compared with a 2-point increase among the overall electorate, to 55 percent.

The latest poll was conducted Feb. 5-6, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered U.S. voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. More than 360 voters who reported receiving the expanded child tax credit payments in 2021 were polled, with a 5-point margin of error for their responses.

Morning Consult