SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Only a slim majority of likely California voters now support a special election on tax extensions to close the state’s budget deficit, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The Public Policy Institute of California had found 66 percent of likely voters thought holding the special election was a good idea at the beginning of the year.
That support fell to 51 percent when voters were interviewed again in February, said poll director Mark Baldassare.
The tax extensions themselves have much less chance of passing, he said, with just 46 percent in favor of them now compared to 54 percent in January.
“Californians themselves are split on what the best proposal to take care of the budget deficit should be,” Baldassare said.
KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:
With California Governor Jerry Brown poised to sign a series of bills that trim $14 billion from the state budget, there was no sign that Republicans in either the Assembly or the Senate would support the special election.
Brown needs two legislators from each house to put the tax extensions before voters on a June ballot.
The public, like the legislature, is split on whether extending the taxes, approved by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, would be the best way to confront California’s financial woes, Baldassare said.
Republican voters prefer spending cuts, while Democratic voters prefer a mix of cuts and taxes, Baldassare said.
The PPIC poll also shows a dramatic shift in views on pension reform. A majority now recognizes the amount spent on public employee pension on retirement systems as a big problem, Baldassare said, compared to just 30 percent in 2005.
(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)