Cross-posted from Pelto’s Point (New Haven Advocate)
Public opinion survey results are driven by three primary factors, how the pollster wrote the questions, who they asked and the depth of knowledge or understanding on the part of those who are being asked those questions.
So today’s Q-Poll is a perfect example of how difficult it is to survey voters on taxes. Why? Because people don’t like paying taxes and when questions are worded as a simple yes or no on any individual tax voters are always (or almost always) going to say they oppose that particular tax.
Since the news is full of budget and talk of increased taxes, Malloy is taking a big hit. A majority, 51% percent disapprove of the way he is handling the budget and only 32 percent approve of the effort.
As Quinnipiac University Poll Director Doug Schwartz explains in his press release, voters “think he is raising taxes too much”. Furthermore Schwartz observes that “While voters think he is raising taxes too much on the middle class, they think he could raise taxes on the wealthy more”
While the Q-poll is clear, people don’t like taxes there is a very interesting question that is completely overlooked in the press release that the pollster sent out.
While overwhelming majorities oppose every individual tax (as is often the case with surveys), a majority of Connecticut voters believe that “increases in taxes” are necessary to balance the budget including a plurality of the all important unaffiliated voters which are the voters needed to win any competitive election.
Asked “Do you think an increase in taxes is necessary to balance the budget or not? “ Democrats answered yes by a 63 – 32 percent margin and unaffiliated voters said yes by 49 – 46 percent margin.
Also interesting is that more affluent people are far more likely to believe a tax increase is necessary to balance the budget. Those making over $100,000 agreed that tax increases were necessary by a 55-42% margin.
Tax are not popular , however it is good news for the Governor and Legislative Democrats that people recognize that tax increases are necessary.
By re-balancing the proposed tax package to shift some of the burden from the middle class to the wealthy and then doing a better job explaining why they have selected these particular taxes, the Governor and Legislature can build the acceptance and support they crave as they look toward the next election.
Today’s Q-Poll can be found here: CT Q-Poll March 9, 2011