Conservative pollsters find widespread disapproval of Marketplace Fairness Act

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Most voters are opposed to a proposed federal Internet sales tax, according to polling conducted by two conservative groups.

As reported in POLITICO by James Hohmann, the July survey by National Taxpayers Union and R Street found that 57 percent of likely voters are against changing state sales-taxation systems to collect tax on Internet purchases.

Majorities of women and independent voters also oppose the proposed legislation, called the Marketplace Fairness Act.  In a separate survey of Republicans, 66 percent say they oppose the plan.

These numbers are consistent with earlier polling conducted by Gallup in June.

Supporters of the MFA say the current system is outdated and hurts many brick-and-mortar businesses. GOP governors are also calling for approval, as a way to collect billions in revenue to help close budget gaps.

Incumbent legislators voting for the MFA facing re-election in 2014 — such as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander — should expect opponents to use their support of the measure as part of serious primary challenges.

In the poll, several variations of anti-MFA messages were tested.

For example, describing the MFA as “national sales tax collection mandate” had 69 percent of GOP voters oppose the measure, as well as 62 percent of Democrats. Calling the MFA “proposed legislation (that) would allow tax enforcement agents from one state to collect taxes from online retailers based in a different state,” jumped the numbers to 70 percent opposed and only 23 percent support.

The terms “costly new tax burdens on small online retailers” and “risk more interference” from state authorities also help reduce support.

This poll might be a useful tool for candidates wanting to construct a message for the midterm elections. 

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.