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USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Press Release

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Support for Prop. 30 Drops Below 50 Percent

Contact: Suzanne Wu at suzanne.wu@usc.edu or (213) 740-0252; Michelle Salzman at msalzman@dornsife.usc.edu or (213) 821-9311.

A press call discussing these results and additional results on Prop. 32 and Prop. 37 is TODAY, Oct. 25 at 11:00 a.m. PT. Call-in spots are limited. Call-in number: (800) 230-1085.

October 25, 2012 — With the election just weeks away, the largest survey of registered voters in the state shows support for Prop. 30 continuing a downward slide. For the first time, support for Governor Jerry Brown’s ballot initiative has dropped below 50 percent, according to the results of the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll.

In the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll conducted Oct. 15-21, 46 percent of California voters favor Prop. 30, and 42 percent oppose it — a sharp decline from support of 55 percent of voters last month and 64 percent in March. Thirty-three percent of voters opposed Prop. 30 in March, and 36 percent opposed it in September.

"The challenge for Governor Brown is that even though Californians seem more willing to raise taxes than has been the case in many years, they still don't believe that state government will spend their tax dollars wisely," said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. "The governor simply has to find a way to convince voters that he is fiscally responsible enough to be trusted before they'll vote for his initiative."

Support for Prop. 30 — which would temporarily increase the state sales tax by a quarter cent and personal income tax on people earning more than $250,000 a year to fund public education and public safety — has fallen across demographic lines. Among registered Democratic voters, support for the initiative fell 5 percentage points in the last month, to 64-23. Among Republican voters, support fell 8 points, to 20-71. Among voters without party affiliation, support also fell 8 points, to 50-36.

“This initiative has been targeted by large amounts of advertising from both the left and the right, so it’s not surprising that all those ads have taken a toll," Schnur said. "Republican support is dropping as a result of the attacks from the campaign against Prop. 30, and Democrats are slipping away after hearing the message from the Prop. 38 campaign."

"The governor can get this passed without Republican support, but it appears that the message from Prop. 30 is killing him with Democratic voters,” Schnur added.

Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, and Los Angeles Times reporter Evan Halper, discuss respondents' views on Propositions 30 and 38.

Nine percent of voters surveyed said they had already voted. Of those who had already voted, 48 percent said they voted in favor of Prop. 30 and 42 percent voted against it.

“The legacy of Prop. 38 will be what happens to Prop. 30,” said Dave Kanevsky, research director of Republican polling firm American Viewpoint, which conducted the poll with Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner on behalf of USC and the Los Angeles Times. “With Prop. 30 in a tight race, having some opposition from your left flank might be what helps kills it. If Prop. 30 loses a close race, Republicans and conservatives may want to thank Ms. Munger for helping defeat it.”

In contrast to results on Prop. 30, Brown’s approval rating has held steady in the last month, with 45 percent of California voters approving of his job as governor, and 40 percent disapproval. In Sept., 46 percent of voters approved of the job being done by Brown, and 37 percent disapproved.

Prop. 38, which would raise income taxes for most Californians on a sliding scale for 12 years to fund education and repay the state debt, also lost ground in the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, despite significantly outspending the opposition.

“It seems that Prop. 38 — and the idea of raising middle class taxes without dedicating all revenue to education — strikes people as a bad idea. The yes side has outspent the opposition by 1,000-fold, and it’s not just losing by a big margin but has actually lost ground,” said Drew Lieberman, vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. “Prop. 38 could ultimately have a small impact on support for Prop. 30, but as a viable option, it’s not on the table the way Prop. 30 is.”

The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll was conducted from Oct. 15-21, 2012, by Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Republican polling firm American Viewpoint. The full sample of 1,504 registered voters has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

Poll results and methodology are available here.

FOR MEDIA: A press call discussing these results and additional ballot initiatives is TODAY, Oct. 25 at 11:00 a.m. PT with political analysts from the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and representatives of polling firms Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and American Viewpoint.

Call-in spots are limited. To reserve a spot for the phone conference, RSVP to Suzanne Wu at suzanne.wu@usc.edu or (213) 740-0252.

Call-in numbers:
    United States: (800) 230-1085              
    International: (612) 234-9959

WEBSITE: /poll
TWITTER: @usclatpoll

About the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll: The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is a series of statewide public opinion polls in California, designed to survey voter attitudes on a wide range of political, policy, social and cultural issues.

Conducted at regular intervals throughout the year, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is one of the largest polls of registered voters in the state and has been widely cited, helping to inform the public and to encourage discourse on key political and policy issues.

About USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences: USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is the heart of the university. The largest, oldest and most diverse of USC's 19 schools, USC Dornsife is composed of more than 30 academic departments and dozens of research centers and institutes. USC Dornsife is home to approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 750 faculty members with expertise across the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

About the Los Angeles Times: The Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2 million and 3 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive local weekly audience of 4.5 million. The fast-growing latimes.com draws over 10 million unique visitors monthly.