Support for Prop. 30 falls below 50 percent, new data shows

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Support for Proposition 30, which will determine whether the UC is dealt a series of budget cuts, has fallen just short of a majority, according to polling data released Tuesday from the California Business Roundtable.

About 49 percent of voters, about eight percent less than last month, support the measure, while about 43 percent oppose it and almost eight percent are undecided.

The results come on the heels of a number of polls indicating falling support for the initiative. Last week, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll pegged support at a low of 46 percent.

“The deteriorating support from Props 30 and 38 should come as no surprise; Californian voters have resoundingly rejected proposed tax increases on the ballot in recent years,” said Shawn Lewis, executive director of the Berkeley College Republicans, in an email.  “Rather than bailing out Sacramento’s mismanagement of existing tax dollars, voters should expect long term budgetary solutions from the Governor and Legislature.”

Crafted by Gov. Jerry Brown, Prop. 30 would temporarily raise the sales tax by a quarter of a percentage point and raise the income tax on the wealthiest Californians in an effort to close the state government’s budget gap.

If voters reject Prop. 30, the University of California will automatically incur a cut of $250 million for the current fiscal year, and students could see midyear tuition hikes of up to 20 percent.

But even as statewide support for the proposition has plummeted, younger voters continue to overwhelmingly support the initiative. Close to 63 percent of voters aged 18 to 29 support the measure.

The report showed that support for the measure declined as age of the surveyed voter group increased. Of voters 60 and older, about 51 percent oppose the measure, and the vast majority of those in opposition characterized their vote as “strongly no.”

These age disparities may prove to be the deciding factor for Prop. 30 come election day. Historically, weak turnout among younger voters has allowed older voters to wield disproportionate influence in state elections.

While residents aged 18 to 34 constitute a third of the state’s adult population, they make up just 18 percent of its likely voters. By contrast, residents 55 and older, who constitute just 29 percent of the state’s adult population, make up 44 percent of the state’s likely voters, according to a report published in August by the Public Policy Institute of California.

“Prop 30 is critical for the future of higher education in California,” said ASUC External Affairs Vice President Shahryar Abbasi in an email. “Hopefully more students, parents, teachers, and California residents all start to become more aware of the Proposition’s importance.”

Curan Mehra is the lead higher education reporter. Contact him at [email protected].