Sunday, July 08, 2012


72% oppose cuts, 44% think Brown is doing a good job, 23% like the lege , 64% think state is on the wrong track

Associated Press from San Jose Mercury News  |

<<Click photo to enlarge - Gov. Jerry Brown finishes signing the the last of of the budget related... ( Rich Pedroncelli )

7/05/2012 04:06:55 AM PDT  :: Nearly three-quarters of California voters oppose the automatic, midyear spending reductions that would balance the state budget if a November ballot initiative to raise taxes fails, according to a new Field Poll.

Seventy-two percent of registered voters, including wide majorities of Democrats and Republicans, oppose the measure, a central part of California's recently enacted budget, according to the poll.

The budget relies on $8.5 billion in revenue from Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, and it threatens to cut education spending if the initiative fails.

Opposition to the so-called "trigger cuts" is greatest among Democrats -- 79 percent -- but 68 percent of independent voters and 65 percent of Republicans also oppose it, according to the poll.

"First, it's mainly because they're going to target K-12 schools, and that's the most popular area of spending," poll director Mark DiCamillo said. "Also, it relates to the idea that you're putting a gun to voters' heads, that 'Look, you either do this, or we shoot the dog.' This is not the way voters want the state to be conducting its affairs."

Overall, Californians are divided about the budget. Thirty-seven percent of voters say the latest round of state spending cuts went too far, while 28 percent say they didn't go far enough and 24 percent say they were about right, according to the poll.

The proportion of voters who say cuts went too far is larger than the 27 percent who said so following the adoption of last year's budget.

"More people are now critical of this year's budget cuts than last," DiCamillo said. "That makes some sense given that these are on top of the last cuts."

Brown's public approval rating remains mediocre, at 44 percent, according to the poll. Forty-two percent of registered voters disapprove of the job the Democratic governor is doing, and 14 percent have no opinion.

The Legislature's job approval rating ticked up four percentage points from May, but it remains far lower than Brown's at 23 percent, according to the poll.

Californians also remain pessimistic about the overall direction in which the state is heading. Just 26 percent of registered voters say the state is heading in the right direction. Nearly two-thirds of registered voters -- 64 percent -- say the state is on the wrong track.

Among those worried for the state is Mary Hildebrand, a retired elementary school teacher from Manteca. The 80-year-old Republican opposes raising taxes, but she also opposes the use of trigger cuts. "I don't see what can be cut, either," she said. "We hired people to figure those things out. They should be working on it."

Field Poll #2415 5July12

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