Poll: 5 of 6 measures in California election trailing
SACRAMENTO (AP) ” Five of the six budget-related measures on California’s May 19 special election ballot are trailing, particularly among voters who say they’re closely following election news, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Thursday.
“The voters who are really tuned in are really turned off,” said Mark Baldassare, president and chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based research organization. “They see the state’s budget situation as a big problem, but so far they don’t like the solution.”
The six propositions, put on the ballot by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers, are an attempt to deal with the state’s persistent budget deficits.
The centerpiece of the package, Proposition 1A, would impose new state spending restrictions and temporarily extend a series of tax increases adopted by the Legislature and signed by Schwarzenegger in February to help erase a $42 billion budget shortfall.
Proposition 1A was opposed by 52 percent of the 1,080 likely voters questioned by the PPIC in a telephone survey conducted from April 27 to May 4. Only 35 percent said they supported the measure.
Opposition was even stronger among poll participants who said they were closely following news about the election. Among that group, the proposition was losing, 65 percent to 29 percent.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Proposition 1B would give schools and community colleges $9.3 billion educators say they are due under Proposition 98, the minimum funding requirements imposed by voters in 1988. But the proposition would delay the payments and spread them over several years to ease the state’s current budget woes. It was trailing 47 percent to 40 percent in the PPIC poll. Opposition climbed to 61 percent among highly interested voters.
Proposition 1C, a plan to borrow $5 billion based on the value of future lottery revenue, is drawing the most opposition. It was opposed by 58 percent of the likely voters questioned by PPIC. Only 32 percent said they supported the proposal. Among very interested voters, it trailed 65 percent to 29 percent.
Proposition 1D, which would tap nearly $1.7 billion in early childhood program funds over the next five years to help balance the budget, was opposed by 45 percent of likely votes and supported by 43 percent. But among very interested voters it trailed 57 percent to 35 percent.
Proposition 1E would take $460 million over the next two years from mental health services to ease the state’s budget problems. It trailed 48 percent to 41 percent among all likely voters and 61 percent to 35 percent among very interested voters, according to the PPIC survey.
Only Proposition 1F, which would bar state elected officials from getting pay raises in years in which the state runs a deficit, had support from most of the likely voters questioned. Seventy-three percent said they intended to vote for the proposal, but that was down from 81 percent in a March PPIC poll. Twenty-four percent said in the latest survey that they opposed the proposition.
Voters who said they were giving election coverage a lot of attention backed the proposal 62 percent to 36 percent.
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, the Los Angeles Democrat who helped negotiate the February budget package and the ballot propositions, said she wasn’t ready to concede defeat for the first five proposals.
“People are still confused,” Bass said in a telephone conference call with reporters. “We have our work cut out for us. I don’t think all is lost though. I’m certainly not ready to throw in the assumption we’re going to lose.”
Jeannine English, California president of the AARP, one of the groups backing the propositions, contended that voters are starting to recognize that rejection of the measures would hurt public safety and programs for senior citizens, children and the poor.
“We will be working day and night to communicate to voters in the coming weeks that supporting Props. 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F is a vote to prevent these deep cuts and take a step toward improving the state’s fiscal situation,” she said.
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