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Before the GOP presidential hopefuls take the stage for tonight’s debate and prepare to decry Obama’s “class warfare,” they might want to mull over the fact that most people — including 53 percent of Republicans — support higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Even so, not a single politician participating in the debate has backed a tax increase on households with more than $250,000 in annual income. Despite outrage by Republican politicians at the mere suggestion of more taxes for the rich, a new poll reveals that most people think it’s not such a bad idea:

More than two-thirds of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, say wealthier people should pay more in taxes to bring down the budget deficit, and even larger numbers think Medicare and Social Security benefits should be left alone.

That sentiment on taxes is at odds with the Republican presidential candidates, who will meet tonight in a Bloomberg- Washington Post-sponsored debate focused on economic issues.

More than 8 out of 10 Americans say the middle class will have to make financial sacrifices to cut the federal deficit even as the public just as strongly opposes higher taxes on middle-income families, according to a Bloomberg-Washington Post national poll conducted Oct. 6-9.

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