Perilous to Tinker with Home Ownership Programs, Voter Survey Finds

A survey uncovers the one thing we can all agree on no matter our political persuasion — home ownership.

Washington may be having trouble finding bipartisan consensus, but a National Association of Home Builders survey has pinpointed one area where likely voters — Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Occupiers — agree: home ownership and many of the programs that support it are important enough to affect elections.

No matter how you slice the political pie, about 70% of voters say a Congressional candidate who wanted to eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction likely wouldn’t get their vote.

NAHB earlier this month asked 1,500 people whether they’d be more likely — or less likely — to vote for a candidate who opposed the mortgage interest deduction:

  • 67% of Tea Party supporters said they’d be less likely to vote for that candidate.
  • 70% of Tea Party opponents would be less likely to vote for that candidate.
  • 69% of independents, 68% of Democrats, and 68% of Republicans would be less likely to vote for that candidate.

The poll uncovered other surprising nuggets:

  • Even people whose homes have lost value think home ownership is worthwhile. An incredible 84% of those who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth say they’re happy with their decision to own a home, and 69% of them would tell a close friend or family member just starting out to buy a home.
  • A majority of likely voters wants the federal government to continue to doing what it can to make home loans available and affordable — especially if discontinuing federal support would mean higher mortgage interest rates for consumers.
  • 60% of voters think dealing with mortgage and foreclosure issues is key to stabilizing the economy, including 57% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats.
  • 58% of voters say stabilizing and restoring the nation’s housing market should be “an absolute high priority” for the federal government.

          “With the 2012 election season in full swing, candidates running for the White House and Congress would be wise to heed the will of the American voters, who have expressed broad support for government policies that encourage home ownership and oppose efforts to make it more difficult to get a home loan and to tamper with the mortgage interest deduction,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, a Democratic polling firm that conducted the survey with Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.

          Would you vote against a candidate who eliminated the mortgage interest deduction or made it more difficult to get a home mortgage?