PPIC May 2010 Poll Shows Californians Want Democrats and Higher Taxes

PPIC is out with its May 2010 poll, and boy is it a doozy. It shows improving numbers for Democrats, confirms the collapse of Meg Whitman’s lead, and perhaps most important of all, leaves absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Californians want higher taxes instead of spending cuts.

First, the campaign numbers (March 2010 in parentheses):

GOP Gubernatorial primary: Whitman 38 (61), Poizner 29 (11), Undecided 31.

Gubernatorial general election:

Brown 42, Whitman 37

Brown 45, Poizner 32

Just look at the collapse in Whitman’s numbers. She’s spent $68 million dollars and only has a single-digit lead with 31% of the wingnut electorate undecided. Wow.

As a result, Jerry Brown’s numbers have recovered against Whitman, over whom he now has a small lead. As expected, Brown fares better against Steve Poizner.

The GOP US Senate primary numbers are even more interesting: Fiorina 25, Campbell 23, DeVore 16, undecided 36. Tom Campbell is out of money, Sarah Palin is feeling very defensive over her Fiorina endorsement, and the fact that Chuck DeVore is actually gaining support can’t make the other two feel any better. It’s a wide-open race, especially given the fact that the Senate candidates and their message, such as it is, has been lost amid the scorched earth TV war between Whitman and Poizner.

As to the general election matchups, Boxer is looking much better:

Boxer 46, Campbell 40

Boxer 48, Fiorina 39

Sure, she’s under 50%, but given that 2010 is not an incumbent-friendly year, it’s a better position for Boxer than it could be. And it shows the need for Democrats to work particularly hard to ensure she gets re-elected, as control of US Senate may ride on this one race.

PPIC took a look at some ballot propositions. They found Prop 14 was backed by 60% of likely voters, including 61% of Dems. On marijuana, they found a bit less favorable numbers than the campaign – 49-48 among likely voters, and 48-49 among all adults. Legalization supporters have work to do with women (only 42% support it), Latinos (62% are opposed) and voters over 55 (only 42% support it).

But the true importance of this PPIC poll comes on the budget and taxes. PPIC found 51% support a majority vote budget, and 47% support a majority vote for budget and taxes.

That’s just the start. The numbers on specific cuts and specific taxes are extremely important. PPIC finally did what nobody else appears to have done – they polled Californians about the kind of taxes approved by Oregon voters last January. Here’s what they found:

Raising income taxes for the wealthiest Californians: 67% support, 30% oppose.

Raising state taxes paid by California corporations: 58% support, 39% oppose.

Here’s what PPIC found when they asked whether voters preferred to raise taxes so as to prevent spending cuts (yes means they support taxes):

K-12 education: 69% yes, 29% no

Higher education: 54% yes, 43% no

Health and human services: 54% yes, 43% no

I don’t know how much clearer the people of California can be, or how much more loudly they’ll have to shout it, but the message is unmistakable: Californians do not want these spending cuts, and instead want the wealthy to pay to prevent the cuts from happening.

It’s true that the 2/3rds rule makes it difficult for these taxes to simply be put on the ballot. But even so, 67% support for higher income taxes and 69% support for new taxes to restore education funding are numbers that cannot be ignored.

These numbers provide a very clear roadmap for Sacramento Democrats when dealing with the state budget deficit in the coming weeks and months. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain by insisting on getting new revenues from the rich as part of the 2010-11 budget. If Republicans resist, then the voters will see who the Republicans really care about – and who really cares about the voters.

2 thoughts on “PPIC May 2010 Poll Shows Californians Want Democrats and Higher Taxes”

  1. I didn’t pay attention to most out of state elections, so this piece of news in E.J. Dionne’s column today was a surprise:

    In Arizona — nobody’s idea of a liberal state — voters supported a temporary increase in the sales tax from 5.6 to 6.6 cents on the dollar, to raise $1 billion annually. This, coupled with a large tax increase on businesses and high-income earners endorsed by voters in Oregon earlier this year, suggests a pragmatic electorate that is far less reflexively opposed to taxes or government than Tea Party cheerleaders would have us believe.

    Yes, even Arizona, one of the most anti-tax states around, realizes that taxes can’t always go down.

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