This Washington

SurveyUSA Poll Could Spell Bad News for Progressive Coalition

By Erica C. Barnett August 31, 2010

A new SurveyUSA/KING-5 poll shows that most voters support an initiative that would impose an income tax on the richest Washington State residents, that a majority of voters support reinstating a two-thirds requirement for the legislature to raise taxes, and that a large number of voters remain undecided about an initiative that would repeal temporary taxes on candy, soda, and bottled water.

Here's the breakdown:

Initiative 1098, imposing a state income tax on individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $400,000:

Certain Yes: 41 percent

Certain No: 33 percent

Uncertain: 24 percent

Initiative 1107, repealing temporary sales taxes on candy, soda, and bottled water

Uncertain: 26 percent

Certain Yes: 42 percent

Certain No: 34 percent

Initiative 1053, reinstating the two-thirds requirement to raise taxes:

Certain Yes: 55 percent

Certain No: 18 percent

Uncertain: 26 percent

Referendum 52, tying energy-efficiency projects at public schools to a continued tax on bottled water

Certain Yes: 34 percent

Certain No: 42 percent

Uncertain: 26 percent

Digging in to the crosstabs, we find, predictably, that Democrats were more likely to support the high-earners income tax (65 percent, compared to Republicans' 25 percent), oppose repealing the candy and soda taxes (44 percent, compared to Republicans' 24 percent), oppose renewing the two-thirds requirement (29 percent, compared to Republicans' 11 percent), and support the energy-efficiency program (49 percent, compared to Republicans' 29 percent).

However, Democrats were far less predictably partisan in their responses than Republicans, who were strongly in favor of ending soda taxes (53 percent), strongly in favor of reinstating the two-thirds majority (70 percent), and strongly against energy-efficiency bonds (56 percent). And a plurality of Democrats (41 percent) actually supported reinstating the two-thirds majority measure.

Regionally, Seattle voters split along predictable lines---for the income tax (44 percent, compared to 33 percent who said no). Somewhat surprisingly, however, Seattle voters actually supported reinstating the two-thirds requirement at the same level as other parts of the state, 55 percent. And they were actually more likely than voters elsewhere to oppose the energy-efficiency bonds---43 percent of Seattle voters said they'd vote "no," compared to 40 percent in Eastern Washington and 41 percent in Western Washington as a whole. Finally, a statistically insignificant plurality of Seattle voters said they supported repealing the candy and soda taxes (39 percent, compared to 38 percent who said no).

That, along with squishy support for the progressive coalition's POV among Democrats, could be bad news for the progressive coalition that's supporting 1098 and R-52 and opposing 1107 and 1053, because progressives typically rely on heavy support from liberal Seattle. Their focus will have to be on the high number of voters in every race who remain undecided.
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