Sunday, April 24, 2011

LA Times: Our Poll Means What We Say It Means!

The LA Times today reported the results of a poll they conducted with USC. Apparently, California's now "support tax hikes" to help close the budget. Except that it doesn't quite say that, and it says a lot of other things as well.

I know, I'm as surprised as you are!

The actual poll results are here. The set of questions pertaining to the tax hikes essentially ask subjects which approach would be best for covering the state's remaining budget shortfall. 54% of subjects said they favored a combination of spending cuts and higher taxes, which is what the Times is referring to. But, importantly, if you believe Sacramento's Democrats, that's not the option the voters need to consider; prominent Democrats are talking tax increases and new spending pretty much exclusively these days. Of those who preferred to see a mix of taxes and cuts, the majority hoped to see them in roughly equal proportion, which is certainly not what's on the table in Sacramento. So how many respondents supported balancing the budget with tax increases only? 9%. Interestingly, poll respondents favored closing the deficit with spending cuts only at three times the rate others favored a tax-only solution.

Also left out of the Times story is the incredible pessimism the report reveals. Californians are in a smack-talking mood as regards the state's direction, political institutions, business climate, and immediate prospects (i.e., most believe the state's economy has yet to hit bottom).

(Hat tips to Tim Cavanaugh and Rob McMillan.)

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