As I noted yesterday, we’ll now have a post-special-election period of argument over what the election results mean.
The No on Prop. 1A campaign today released the results of a poll – a David Binder Research survey of 1,008 voters, 603 of whom voted in the special election and 405 of whom did not, conducted May 16-20 – that they say belies the “it’s all spending cuts from here” meme in Sacramento.
“The lesson to take from this… is that voters are willing to look at tax increases, this mantra were hearing that ‘no new taxes’ is absolutely the way California needs to go forward is not supported by our data,” Binder said on a conference call with reporters a short while ago.
That is, when asked, “Which of the following best describes your opinion about the special election?,” 69 percent chose “It was an example of the Governor and the legislature balancing the budget on the backs of average Californians instead of asking their special interest contributors to do their share to help out” while 19 percent chose “The Governor and legislature are asking all Californians to share the pain equally as the state deals with this budget crisis” and 12 percent didn’t know.
And when asked “Which one of the following approaches would you like the leaders of state government to take in dealing with the state budget’s shortfall?,” 29 percent chose “State government should rely entirely on spending cuts with no tax increases” while 65 percent chose “Shared responsibility, with some tax increases” and 6 percent didn’t know.
Lots more poll results, and some opposing viewpoints, after the jump…
Other poll findings, according to Binder’s memo:
Perhaps not the most neutral survey language, but No on 1A’s union backers take the results to mean it’s time to ratchet up pressure on the Legislature and Republicans to raise taxes.
“We believe the major message from the polling is that its critical… is that we not jump the gun and go out there and just make more mistakes,” said California Faculty Association President Lillian Taiz, adding voters want “no more smoke and mirrors” but rather “fair solutions – everyone should chip in and make this state work.” She said the poll’s release marks the start of “a serious campaign to educate the legislators and build the momentum” for a mixed taxes-and-cuts solution.
California Federation of Teachers President Marty Hittelman said “the message the voters sent was they were opposed to this artificial cap on spending … They want real solutions.”
And AFSCME International Political Action Assistant Director Willie Pelote Sr. said the results “send a crystal-clear message that voters want the governor and Legislature to stop balancing the budget on the backs of average Californians.” The election’s extremely low turnout demonstrates the vote wasn’t driven by anti-tax fervor, but rather that voters are tired of “gimmicks and special elections.”
“It is time to listen to the voters and not the right-wing pundits,” Pelote said. “Get back to work and get the budget done that clearly reflects what the voters asked for.”
Meanwhile, conservatives insist exactly the opposite – that the vote demonstrates Californians believe they’re overtaxed already and won’t countenance any further increases, preferring instead to make deeper cuts in the budget.
Jon Flesichman, a vice-chairman of the state GOP and founder and publisher of FlashReport.org, wrote yesterday that foremost among the winners in Tuesday’s election are “all of us — the taxpayers – who sent a strong message to politicians with their lopsided rejection of Propositions 1A-1E, and even with their approval of 1F. We have asserted our primacy in a democratic republic, and have sent a clear message – they aren’t paying any more taxes!”
And state GOP Chairman Ron Nehring today issued a statement saying that “(i)f there is one thing Californians need to know about Republicans’ reaction to the special election, it is this: they’ve heard you and are taking action.
“Yesterday, we saw Governor Schwarzenegger, Assembly Republican Leader-elect Sam Blakeslee, and Senate Republican leader Dennis Hollingsworth speak candidly about the way forward for California through this budget crisis, Nehring said. “They were clear and unified in their understanding – we must restore Californians’ confidence by ending waste, fraud, and mismanagement, and making the difficult but necessary decisions to get us through this crisis and plan for the future without asking for more from the taxpayers.”