UC Berkeley-Field Poll shows voter attitudes on budget

As the California Legislature prepares to vote today (Wednesday, March 16) on Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to get a grip on the state’s staggering budget deficit by cutting spending and extending temporary taxes, a new survey by the University of California, Berkeley, and the Field Poll shows registered voters favor the governor’s approach.

According to the survey results released today, 61 percent of registered voters would prefer to have a special election on the issue, rather than letting lawmakers decide. And if there is a special vote, 58 percent of voters back the tax extension plan, compared to 39 percent who oppose it.

Faculty members at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS), Goldman School of Public Policy and Graduate School of Journalism helped develop the survey questions dealing with the state’s fiscal crisis.

The poll shows that voters prefer the opportunity to cast their ballots rather than rely on the Legislature to come up with a budget, and most voters say they support the governor’s proposal to alleviate California’s $25 billion debt, says Jack Citrin, IGS director and a UC Berkeley professor of political science.

“Democrat strongly favor the extension, Republicans strongly oppose it, with non-partisan voters very close to the Democrats,” Citrin says. “This suggests that the governor has been effective in how he has framed this issue.”

Citrin says he and others from campus who were involved with the poll hope this is the start of an ongoing collaboration between UC Berkeley and the Field Poll to assess Californians’ attitudes on emerging public policy issues.

Read about the survey in more detail at the IGS website: igs.berkeley.edu/reports/Rls2368.pdf.

Another UC Berkeley/Field Poll, this one about public pensions, is scheduled for release this Thursday (March 17).