Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Incompetent Polling on Brown's Tax Hikes - UPDATE

Lest you get depressed over the stupidity in the headline in today' U-T that a big majority approves of Jerry Brown's proposed tax hikes, let me return you to reality, and a much better outlook. Here is the main quote.
Nearly two-thirds of Californians favor Brown’s tax hike, but fewer than half of them think he’s doing a good job as governor, according to a survey released Monday by the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California.
First, remember that this a poll of "adults," allegedly, not likely voters, not even registered voters. Such a poll is bound to vastly over estimate the support for new taxes. Likely voters are going to be more conservative than "adults."

Second look at the actual wording of the question:
Governor Brown has proposed a plan to help close the state’s budget deficit over the next five years. The plan, which would be put before voters in November, would raise $7 billion annually through a temporary four-year half- cent sales tax increase and a temporary five- year income tax increase on those earning more than $250,000. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?
They might as well have said Do you support the heroic Governor's surefire plan to cure our deficit woes? What kind of polling is this?

Third, in my experience, polls always over estimate the support for tax increases. Remember how Proposition D, the half cent sales tax increase was supposed to be a squeaker? The U-T published a poll near election time that showed a 40% to 40% tie with a large number of undecideds. Final result? The tax increased was crushed 63-37, not even getting the 40% it polled at.

Fourth, PPIC, who performed the polling, is generally left of center. Of course they will get a result that supports tax increases.

Finally, these tax increases energize an angry public to vote no because they are sick to death of lack of accountability from government. This vote will re-energize the tea party movement in California.


I cross posted this article at sdrostra.com. In the comments, Tony Krvaric makes some excellent comments, here is an excerpt.

1) The question is framed in terms of deficit reduction, even though real world experience shows that there’s no correlation between raising taxes and reducing the deficit (or else California certainly would have no deficit by now.)

2) The poll tries to state as fact that Jerry Brown’s plan will, for certain, produce $7 billion in new tax revenue, even though again, real world experience shows that tax increases rarely, if ever, produce the revenue its predicted they will.

3) Is it really necessary for a pollster to underline that four year and five year tax increases are “temporary?” Doesn’t their descriptive as four year and five year tax increases already make that clear?

4) Look at the timing of this poll. It was released the same day that the Department of Finance director announced the budget trigger cuts.

His entire comments are worth a read.

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