Fleischman on the Dubious PPIC Tax Survey

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Regarding the news that a “big majority supports Brown’s tax increase plan” (UT headline), the FlashReport’s Jon Fleischman provides some insight…

The results of a public opinion survey are totally dependent on the questions you ask. You can ask a question that you know will has a very positive answer, such as “Would you like prices to be lower to spend a day at Disneyland?”

Of course virtually all respondents would say yes. But what if the follow up questions were, “Would you still want entrance prices lowered at Disneyland if you knew that many of your favorite rides and attractions would be closed? Or that food prices in the park would go up 100%? Or that park hours would need to be reduced?”

I’m sure that faced with the real consequences of lower entrance fees at Disneyland, poll respondents would probably prefer to keep the prices, and enjoy all of the amazing things that Disney has done with their flagship theme park.

So when you hear that a public opinion survey says that a majority of Californians want to raise taxes in a recession, you should be immediately skeptical of the question asked.

To that point, this is what State GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro had to say about this latest PPIC survey…

DEL BECCARO:

On that alleged poll saying CA supports taxes – it was taken among a “adults” – a non-existent category. Polling should be based on “likely voters.” Worse yet, it was based on this totally leading/push poll question:

“Governor Brown has proposed a plan to help close the state’s budget deficit over the next five years. The plan, which would be put before voters in November, would raise $7 billion annually through a temporary four-year half cent sales tax increase and a temporary five year income tax increase on those earning more than $250,000. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?”

Among other problems, the question assumes the tax hike will “help” and it assumes it will raise $7 billion — which it will not.

What would be the result if they asked: “Despite having the highest tax and regulatory burden in country, Jerry Brown would like to raise your taxes to pay for an expansion of government. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?”

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