Poll: Millionaires tax stands best chance of approval in November
Proponents of a ballot measure to hike taxes on millionaires released a summary of a poll on Wednesday that showed theirs has the best chance of passing in November, especially should multiple tax measures end up on the ballot.
Release of the latest poll information came as the three-way battle over taxes heated up, with the influential California Business Roundtable announcing that it opposed the millionaires tax and one advocated by a civil rights attorney, while taking no position on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal.
Brown, who has assiduously courted business while crafting his combination of a half-cent sales tax hike and higher levies on high earners, argues that if the other efforts end up on the November ballot they will overwhelm voters and all three will be rejected.
Many analysts from both political parties agree with the governor, but the loose coalition of unions and liberal groups behind the millionaires tax have dismissed that view as "inside-the-beltway," conventional thinking. They said their poll showed that their tax and the governor's proposal could both clear the 50% threshold even if all three were the ballot, although Brown's is the most vulnerable to attack.
The poll found the millionaires tax had 69% support if all three measures were on the ballot, while Brown's had 56% backing and the third, an income tax hike largely for k-12 education, lagged at 40%. But after being read questions attacking each tax, support fell to 65% for the millionaires tax and to 46% for Brown's proposal.
The poll of 2,000 likely voters had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. The groups that commissioned it would not release all the questions on the poll.
"It strengthens our resolve, that we have a proposition that is winnable, that is most popular," said Los Angeles community activist Anthony Thigpen at a Sacramento news conference.
Brown has been more concerned about the dollars that would oppose a tax. He went out of his way to avoid tax hikes that could generate business opposition, and the announcement from the Business Roundtable shows why.
"We are aggressively moving forward to raise money and oppose these initiatives," Jerry Carnahan, the group's president, said of the non-Brown taxes. "We will ensure by the November election that the voters of California will understand their real impacts on our economy and jobs."
-- Nicholas Riccardi in Sacramento
Photo: Thousands marched on the state Capitol on Monday demanding an end to cuts in higher education. Many backed the millionaires tax as a way to bring in additional funding. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press