California voters continue to support Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) compromise tax hike initiative, listed as Proposition 30 on the November ballot, over a rival tax hike plan, according to a new poll by PACE/University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Harmon, San Jose Mercury News, 8/23).
The online poll surveyed 1,041 likely voters from Aug. 3 to Aug. 7 (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 8/22).
Details of Tax Hike Plans
Prop. 30 -- developed by Brown and supporters of the "Millionaires Tax" -- would:
- Increase the personal income tax by one percentage point for individuals who earn $250,000 annually or couples who earn $500,000 annually and by two percentage points for individuals who earn $300,000 annually or couples who earn $600,000 annually;
- Extend the income tax increases on wealthy residents from five to seven years; and
- Increase the sales tax by a quarter of a cent.
The sales tax hike would expire in four years (California Healthline, 8/21).
Proposition 38 -- a rival tax hike plan by attorney Molly Munger -- would raise income tax for all residents, with highest earners seeing the largest hike.
Most of the revenue would support education programs (California Healthline, 8/17).
The poll found that 55% of respondents said they support Prop. 30, while 36% said they oppose it.
However, support dropped slightly for Prop. 30 when respondents were shown a simulated advertising campaign that included a Web advertisement that supported the initiative and a radio ad that criticized the measure.
Following the simulated ads, 52% of respondents said they support Prop. 30, while 34% said they oppose it.
According to the poll, 40% of respondents said they support Prop. 38, while 49% said oppose it (San Jose Mercury News, 8/23).
Reactions to Poll
Dan Schnur, head of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, said that Brown can gain more support for Prop. 30 if he develops a message that is more specific to voters' concerns (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 8/22).
Ace Smith, a manager for the Prop. 30 campaign, questioned whether voters form their opinions in the way that the survey suggested with the simulated ads.
Smith said that for Prop. 30, all voters will know "what's at stake" when deciding whether to support the measure.
Meanwhile, Nathan Ballard, spokesperson for Prop. 38, said, "Once we begin our aggressive campaign on the airwaves, Prop. 38 will climb rapidly in the polls as voters learn about its benefits for our public schools" (San Jose Mercury News, 8/23).