New survey shows declining support for Prop. 30

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Voter support for Proposition 30 — which could determine whether University of California students are dealt a 20 percent tuition hike in January — has fallen below 50 percent for the first time, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Performed by the Public Policy Institute of California, the survey shows that support for Prop. 30 among likely voters has fallen to 48 percent, about 4 percent less than last month. Opposition has grown by the same amount, from 40 to 44 percent. The percentage of undecided voters has remained the same at 8 percent.

Prop. 30 would raise the state sales tax by a quarter of a percentage point for the next four years and raise the state income tax for the next seven years for taxpayers making more than $250,000 annually. If passed, the measure would also prevent almost $6 billion in budget cuts, primarily to the state’s K-12 and higher education institutions. The UC Board of Regents has said that if it fails, UC students will likely see a 20.3 percent tuition hike in January to cover the shortfall.

A recent USC/Los Angeles Times poll taken between Oct. 15 and Oct. 21 found an even sharper decline in support for Prop. 30 than did the PPIC survey, down to 46 percent supportive from 55 percent.

Dean Bonner, a policy associate at the PPIC and the project manager for the institute’s survey, said the two surveys are demonstrative of a narrowing margin between “yes” and “no” voters rather than a shift in support. Because the margin of error for the PPIC survey was 4 percent, Bonner said he would not consider the decline in support for Prop. 30 a decrease but rather “just short of a majority.”

“It’s often said if you want an initiative to pass in the months leading up to the election, you should have above 50 percent, because once people start making up their minds, you see a decrease in support often,” Bonner said. “It may be due to ads, (but) it could just be that more people are aware and have done their own research and thus have made up their minds.”

But some UC Berkeley students remain unaware of the ballot measure.

Gabby Dumaguin, a freshman who will vote for the first time this year, said she did not know Prop. 30 was on the ballot but still plans to look over her voter guide to familiarize herself with the issues.

“I would have to do more research on whether there’s been anything in the past that would be effective to fund education,” Dumaguin said.

John Hofinga, a fifth-year, wasn’t familiar with Prop. 30 by name but said he’d heard about a proposition to help raise money for schools and would support raising taxes to avoid a tuition increase.

Critics of Prop. 30 say that the measure would not guarantee any new funding to state schools but rather would use existing money to fund other state services. The additional tax revenue brought in by Prop. 30 could then be used to replace those funds. Opponents released the first television advertisement against the proposition in early October.

And those opposed to the proposition aren’t the only source of pressure to the Yes on Prop. 30 campaign. With less than two weeks until the Nov. 6 election, the campaign also faces increasing competition from a rival ballot measure, Proposition 38.

Prop. 38 would raise income taxes on a much broader range of taxpayers for the next 12 years, primarily to fund K-12 education.

If both ballot measures succeed, the one with the higher number of votes will be implemented. But there is no guarantee that either will pass, and some say that competition between the propositions could lead to the failure of both.

“When there are two propositions heading in the same directions, confusion is always a likelihood,” said David Kirp, a professor of at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. “When voters are confused, the inclination is to vote no, which is a rational strategy.”

Contact Gautham Thomas at [email protected].

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  • Yes on Prop. 30

    Gabby Dumaguin, a freshman who will vote for the first time this
    year, said she did not know Prop. 30 was on the ballot but still plans
    to look over her voter guide to familiarize herself with the issues.

    John Hofinga, a fifth year, wasn’t familiar with Prop. 30 by name but
    said he’d heard about a proposition to help raise money for schools and
    would support raising taxes to avoid a tuition increase.

    Guys, you really should be aware about Prop. 30 because if it doesn’t pass your tuition is going to go up by 20+% next semester. Vote YES on Prop. 30.

  • earlrichards

    Brown is blackmailing Californians. Why does Brown always pick-on the most vulnerable and education? Brown should should close corporate and commercial tax loopholes, introduce an oil extraction tax, an oil corporation, windfall-profits tax, Chevron of San Ramon, made $27 billions in 2011, paid no federal tax and received billions in tax breaks and subsidies. These taxes have to be rolled-back. These budget cuts will prolong the recession. The High Speed Rail project has to be put-on hold, until a few years after the budget is balanced. Prop 30 will not be temporary and there is no guarantee that Prop 30 will be spent on education.

    • Alf

      Even if the High Speed Rail project was put on hold, it wouldn’t matter to the state budget because the bonds used for the HSR were approved by voters for that project only, i.e. they can’t be diverted.

      • Calipenguin

        State bonds are not free money. The bond investors expect to make a profit, which means either the state must divert money from elsewhere, the construction project generates its own profits, or the state levies more taxes. Since the HSR referendum created a “general obligation bond”, that means the state can levy taxes to pay off the investors if the HSR does not generate profits (ha!) and the state’s general fund runs out of money. Does this start to sound familiar now? Prop 30 aims to replenish money going into the state’s general fund…. the same fund that would have to pay off the HSR investors. That is why Prop 38 is much better if you really care about education funding.

        • Impressed

          I don’t mean to be a suck up, but wow, how do you know so much about all these issues? I’m really impressed.

        • earlrichards

          Thank you, I learned some new information from you. So Munger is more trustworthy than Brown? Brown is not telling the full story about Prop 30.

  • I_h8_disqus

    “Critics of Prop. 30 say that the measure would not guarantee any new funding to state schools but rather use existing money to fund other state services. The additional tax revenue brought in by Prop. 30 could then be used to replace those funds.”

    We know this is true, because the legislature is saying it will give more funds to Cal if the proposition passes, even though the supporters of the proposition are saying it is for funding K-12 and community college education. Within a year, all Prop. 30 revenues will be funneled to non-education state services, and Cal students will have higher tuition, higher sales taxes, and many of their parents will have higher income taxes.

    • Anonymous

      “…legislature is saying it will give more funds to Cal if the proposition
      passes, even though the supporters of the proposition are saying it is
      for funding K-12 and community college education”

      It is for funding public safety, k-12 education, and higher education (including community colleges, CSUs, and UCs)

      • I_h8_disqus

        Nope. It doesn’t include the CSU’s or UC’s. Read the full text of the proposition. The money is directed at K-12, community colleges, and public safety. Public safety includes prisons. So while the proposition doesn’t give money to Cal it will fund the Berkeley police.