The tax reform bill passed this week, representing a major legislative victory for Congress and the White House.

Yet recent polling data suggests the bill remains divisive. 42 percent of Americans support the bill and another 39 percent are opposed. But 26 percent of the latter considers themselves strongly against the bill with 20 percent strongly for it, according to that Politico/Morning Consult poll.

Zignal Labs examined the media and social conversations around tax reform for both the general population and elected officials in the Senate as well. Here’s what we found.

There is a push-and-pull on social that reflects polling data. Not surprisingly, the most popular hashtags reflect that divide of public opinion, illustrating the very real and powerful emotions surrounding this $1.5T reform package. Setting aside the most popular – #taxreform – the others obviously align with their respective liberal and conservative viewpoints. These include #GOPtaxscam, #taxscambill, #maga and #trump.

#GOPtaxscam is the second-most popular hashtag and sentiment is 64 percent negative among elected officials in the Senate, underscoring the strong friction between Republicans and Democrats on this bill. When #maga and #trump are used in conjunction with #taxreform, the sentiment drops slightly to 65 percent negative, indicating these hashtags are being deployed by the bill’s opponents in the Senate. Additionally, the top emoji included in these is the red angry face. It’s worth noting though that Democrats tend to be more active on social media than their Republican counterparts; indeed, they have generated twice the mentions of tax reform over the GOP.

Certain states are driving the most reactions. Californians and New Yorkers – high income states which many believe will lose significantly in the bill – are two of the most active sources of the conversation.

The public and elected officials are focusing on different things…on the surface.Among the general public, the strongest topic was corporate tax, dominating 48 percent of the conversation. Looking at mentions from members of the Senate, however, the focus was much more on the middle class and the elimination of the healthcare mandate. Conversation driven by GOP members of the Senate is 64 percent positive, in contrast to Senate Democrats, whose social conversations on tax reform are 75 percent negative.

In both cases, the average American is at the core of the conversation – but the framing is quite different, depending on which political party is speaking. For instance, President Trump has said the tax plan will be a “big, beautiful Christmas gift” to American families while Democrats continue to say middle class Americans will suffer as a result of its implementation.

As the tax bill becomes law, it will bear watching to see how it affects Americans – and how its impact, both positive and negative, is then reflected in media and social conversations. Social intelligence can surface early trends, signals and issues as what’s theoretical and on paper now becomes real.

When the law is implemented January 1, it will be evaluation mode for all affected as the implications of this tax bill become even clearer by April 15th.


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