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Survey shows wide support for mortgage interest deduction

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The 30-year, fixed-rate home loan and the government's mortgage interest tax deduction are popular homebuying incentives for Americans, the National Association of Homebuilders said Wednesday. The trade group based its conclusion on a survey of 1,500 likely voters. The poll was conducted Republican-leaning Public Opinion Strategies and the Democrat-leaning Lake Research Partners. The results show 75% of respondents believe it's reasonable for the government to offer a tax incentive to promote homeownership. This belief appears to be bipartisan, with 84% of Democrats saying tax incentives for homeownership are a good idea while 71% of Republicans and independents agree with that sentiment, the NAHB said. Support for mortgage interest tax deductions and the traditional, 30-year mortgage remained consistent across the poll, whether respondents classified themselves as renters or not. Two-thirds of those surveyed support the idea of the federal government helping homeowners afford a long-term mortgage, while 73% of voters oppose the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction. The polling firms asked respondents how their views on housing will impact their choice of congressional representatives in November's elections. Sixty-eight percent said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports an end to the mortgage interest deduction. That sentiment is shared across party lines, with 69% of independents and 68% of Republicans and Democrats in support of homebuyer tax relief. "The American electorate is sending a clear message that owning a home remains a cornerstone of the American dream and preserving a federal commitment to homeownership is essential to maintain a thriving middle class and get housing and the economy back on track," according to Neil Newhouse, co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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