Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
New polling shows support slim for Brown's tax plan, stronger for ending death penalty
A new study released last night by the Public Policy Institute of California shows weak support for the Proposition 30 tax initiative and a split vote on the competing Proposition 38 tax, strong support for repealing the death penalty, and general indecision on Propositions 31 and 32.
Prop 30, a combination of Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal for a sales tax hike and the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax,” would raise sales taxes for all residents by 0.25% for four years and increase income taxes on those making more than $250,000 annually on a sliding scale for a total of seven years. The initiative is currently polling at 52 percent support and 40 percent opposition, with 8 percent of voters undecided. Prop 38, a competing measure that would raise income taxes across the board for a 12 year period, has roughly 45 percent of voters both in favor and opposed.
As is typical with issues concerning taxes, Democrats strongly favor both proposals, and Republicans reject both. Independent voters lean slightly in favor of the measures, with 53 percent saying they support both measures. Voters under age 35, typically a strong Democratic bloc, heavily favor the measures, with 72 percent supporting Prop 30 and 67 percent favoring Prop 38.
Prop 31, which would “establish a two-year state budget, set rules for offsetting new expenditures and budget cuts enacted by the governor, and allow local governments to alter the application of laws governing programs funded by the state,” has received little media coverage and does not draw strong voter opinion in any direction. Overall, 25 percent of likely voters say they’re supportive, 42 percent say they’ll vote against the measure, and 32 percent are undecided. The Institute could not find a single bloc of voters by party affiliation, age, or other measure that strongly supported the initiative. Only 29 percent of poll respondents say the outcome of this vote is “very important” to them.
Prop 32, which would bar unions, corporations, and government entities from collecting voluntary payroll deductions for political purposes and prohibit union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees (but not to independently controlled “Super PACs”), shows a slight inclination of falling. Overall, 42 percent of likely voters support the measure, while 49 percent oppose it – opposition among Democrats is strong at 61 percent, though the measure enjoys slim majorities of 53 percent and 52 percent among Republicans and independents, respectively.
More general questions about voter attitudes were asked that give insight to Proposition 34, which would repeal the death penalty, and Proposition 36, which revises the state’s “three strikes” law.
Fifty percent of respondents believe the penalty for first-degree murder should be life in prison without the possibility of parole, and 42 percent say it should be death. The life-in-prison contingent shows the same strength as the last time the question was asked in September 2011, though proponents of the death penalty have dropped slightly, from 45 percent previously.
Regarding three strikes, 73 percent of voters say they favor amending the law, which says any “third strike” felony must carry a sentence of 25 years to life imprisonment, to specify that a third felony must be “serious or violent” to qualify for the maximum sentence.