This Washington

Women, Eastern Washington Big Supporters of High Earners Income Tax

By Josh Feit April 22, 2010

According to a new Survey USA poll, the high-earners income tax proposed yesterday by Bill Gates, Sr. and a coalition of labor, small businesses, and progressives,  has hefty support from exactly the sort of people you'd expect. It gets 79 percent approval from people who identify themselves as liberal, 75 percent from Democrats, and 73 percent from younger people between 18 and 34.

Republicans (57 percent) and Independents (63 percent) favor it too.

However,  here are two numbers that jumped out to me: Women like it more than men by nearly 10 points and Eastern Washington likes it more than Western Washington. Seventy percent of women support the idea, compared to 62 percent of men. And support is at 66 percent in Eastern Washington, as opposed to 63 percent in Western Washington. (Seattle is at 69 percent.)

Yes, woman are typically  more liberal than men, but how does that fit with Eastern Washington (more conservative) liking it more than Western Washington?

This is what makes 1-1077 interesting to me. It shreds a lot of party lines and hopscotches factions.

Yes, it's an early poll—and Tim Eyman is already re-framing the debate, arguing that the initiative is really a gateway drug for an across-the-board income tax.

That spin could certainly bring the numbers down, but it looks like the "No" campaign will be up against more nuanced support for the measure.

In fact, the measure is already confounding Eyman. In a double-reverse-back-flip, another thing Eyman said about the initiative is that liberals shouldn't like it because it doesn't get rid of the regressive sales tax. It's not a good sign for Eyman if he's is already in the odd position of underscoring liberals' case for reform—Washington's regressive tax structure.

The Survey USA poll (of 500 people) asked: "A proposed initiative would create an income tax in Washington state on people making $200,000 per year and on couples making twice that. It would also cut the state's portion of the property tax by 20%, and end the business and occupation tax for small businesses. Do you support? Or do you oppose? This proposed initiative?"

The margin of error was 4.2 percent.
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