PPIC: Public support declines for special election to decide budget

Gov. Brown’s effort to place a tax-and-cut budget before the public in a special election has lost suport from the public, although half of the likely voters surveyed still think it’s a good idea, according to the latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Some 66 percent of likely voters supported the idea in January. Now, about 51 percent back it, the survey found. A detailed announcement of the poll is available here. The full survey can be downloaded here.

Among Democrats, support has dipped from 73 percent two months ago to 64 percent now. Republican support, meanwhile, dropped from 55 percent to 34 percent. The decline in Republican support is all but certain to bolster opposition to Brown among GOP lawmakers.

The findings were based on a telephone survey of 2,000 California adult residents interviewed on landlines and cell phones from March 8–15. The interviews were conducted in English or Spanish according to respondents’ preferences. The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is plus or minus 2.8 percent for all adults, plus or minus 3.7 percent for the 1,328 registered voters, and plus or minus 4.2 percent for the 935 likely voters.

Support has also declined since January for the package that voters would be considering —a five-year extension of temporary increases in income and sales taxes and the vehicle license fee to avoid additional budget cuts. 

Today, less than half (46 percent  all adults and likely voters) favor the governor’s proposal, a decline of 7 points among all adults and 8 points among likely voters.

“While many Californians still favor the approach the governor proposed in January, his plan to seek a budget solution through a June ballot has become a more difficult task to achieve,” says Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “Even if the budget measure finds its way onto the ballot, state elected officials’ low approval ratings could limit their ability to persuade voters to go along with a budget plan.”

The numbers come as unwelcome news to Brown:  In recent days, he has hinted that he might go to a simple-majority vote in the Legislature to get on the ballot. Now that option may prove of little value.

Meanwhile, Brown’s approval rating has dropped 7 points since early January among all Californians to 34 percent and six points to 41 percent among all Californians.

The California Legislature has much a lower approval rating, 24 percent among the public at large and 16 percent among likely voters.

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