Bad news for the special-election measures

The Public Policy Institute of California’s latest poll shows that as interest has grown in the May 19 special election, opposition has grown to the ballot measures with five of the six headed for defeat:

  • Prop. 1A, the spending cap/rainy-day fund: 52 percent no, 35 percent yes
  • Prop. 1B, restoring money cut from education: 47 percent no, 40 percent yes
  • Prop. 1C, borrowing against future lottery income: 58 percent no, 32 percent yes
  • Prop. 1D, diverting money from children’s programs: 45 percent no, 43 percent yes
  • Prop. 1E, diverting money from mental health: 48 percent no, 41 percent yes
  • Prop. 1F, preventing raises for state officials when the budget is in deficit: 73 percent yes, 24 percent no
  • “The voters who are really tuned in are really turned off,” PPIC president, CEO and survey director Mark Baldassare. “They see the state’s budget situation as a big problem, but so far, they don’t like the solution.”

    PPIC found voters most likely to be following news of the special election very closely are older than age 55, men and those who disapprove of the governor and legislature.

    That latter category would be most of you, apparently: The poll found the governor (34 percent) and legislature (12 percent) at almost-record-low approval ratings. Californians feel less trust in state government now than PPIC has ever seen: Just 16 percent of likely voters say they can trust the government in Sacramento to do what is right just about always (2 percent) or most (14 percent) of the time. Among Californians overall, 23 percent hold this view (4 percent always, 19 percent most of the time).

    But it’s not all gloom and doom. For the first time since PPIC started asking in 2003, most Californians – 57 percent – and most likely voters here – 52 percent – think the nation is generally headed in the right direction. That’s a marked increase even from when January, when it was 32 percent of Californians and 31 percent of likely voters. (Apparently, yes he can!)

    The findings are based on a telephone survey of 2,005 adult Californians interviewed from April 27 through May 4 in English or Spanish; the margin of error all adults is ±2 percent, and for the 1,080 likely voters, it’s ±3 percent.

    More PPIC tidbits, after the jump…

    “I want to know what you’re thinking, tell me what’s on your mind…”

    Light at the tunnel’s end? Most Californians (53 percent) say California is in a serious economic recession, but that percentage has declined 10 points from its peak two months ago (63 percent). About six in 10 Californians are very concerned (39 percent) or somewhat concerned (22 percent) about falling behind on their mortgage or rent payments; that’s not much changed from March (39 percent very, 23 percent somewhat). But while nearly half say they are very (31 percent) or somewhat worried (16 percent) that they or someone in their families will lose a job in the next year, that’s way down from January, when it totaled 58 percent.

    The specter of Arlen Specter? The PPIC found 74 percent of Californians say the president and Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot this year.

    Go vote. Californians are slightly more likely to prefer paying higher taxes and getting more services (48 percent) over lower taxes and fewer services (43 percent). But among likely voters, that margin goes the other way: 49 percent for lower taxes/fewer services to 42 percent for higher taxes/more services.

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

    • John W

      According the the state treasurer, interviewed on KGO this morning, the $8 billion hole we would have even if these measures passed is now looking like $11 billion. Add that to the additional $6 billion hole from defeating the measures on 5/19 and we are dealing with $17 billion. We’re tapped out on borrowing capacity, and there is no support for more taxes. So, it will be all cuts to balance the budget. $17 billion from a $92 billion general fund budget is a bunch.

    • Elwood

      “The PPIC found 74 percent of Californians say the president and Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot this year.”

      In related questions, PPIC found that 72 percent of Californians believe in the Easter Bunny and 73 percent in the Tooth Fairy.

    • antiwastetaxpayer’smoney

      Cut waste or fraud from developmental, community, and regional centers. The autism disabled consumers received money/funds from group homes and IHHS while state also funds/pays developmental and regional centers. Is it double payments/funds by taxpayer’s money? This is waste of taxpayer’s money. Don’t forget these agencies keep expanding their costs to state and taxpayers.
      State should stop or cut funding developmental, community, and regional centers

    • Allen Payton

      It’s time for the Governor to exercise the use of his line-item veto authority with the blue pencil.

    • Guy C Dana

      The California general public appears to have lost confidence in the legislature, and rightly so.
      I just finished listening to a representative from the Governor’s office describe how the current propositions on the ballot will help and substantially change the California State budgeting process. I was in a group of 200 representatives (primarily owners) of small businesses who made the following statement and asked the resulting question (Paraphrasing multiple responses):
      “We, as business owners, have had to lay off employees, forego planned expenditures, and generally scale back expenses to meet the current economic challenge. Why does the California State Legislature and the Governor believe they are above the general population in this regard and immune to the challenges the rest of us face daily? Why do they believe they can continue to spend our money without being accountable to scale back expenses.”
      Excellent question.
      The general feeling is that our legislators are a group of complete inept idiots who, arguing amongst themselves for personal gain can’t come to grips with the real world. With a 12% approval rating, I believe this to be an accurate assessment. They should all be replaced with people who can do the job.
      The comment was also made that it may just be better to let California declare bankruptcy since the financial affairs of the state will then be handled by federal courts. They feel the courts will do a better job running the state than the current group which has proved its incompetency over the past many years.
      The system needs to be fixed, not just patched together which is exactly what most of the current propositions do.

    • Arne Simonsen

      I will be voting YES on Props 1D, 1E and 1F.

      Prop 1D (50-cent per pack cigarette tax) has a massive surplus. The First Five county programs have been ripe with fraud by child care centers receiving Prop 99 money, including one right here in Contra Costa County. As someone who pays that 50-cent tax, I’d rather see that money going to help the State with its fiscal problems.

      Prop 1E – I opposed this 1% income tax surcharge on ‘the rich’ when it was on the ballot. It was a very bad example of ballot box budgeting, further tying the hands of the Legislature.

      Prop 1F – This proposition sends a real signal to the Legislature that they have to budget expenditures to equal revenues (including reducing what the schools get under Prop 99 when expenditures are down). Legislators should not receive their salary and daily per diem when they fail to meet the State constitutional requirement to have a budget by June 15th.

      Taxpayers are tapped-out, so Props 1A, 1B and 1C are a no-brainer – VOTE NO on Props 1A, 1B and 1C.