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GU moves up, down rankings

Gonzaga hasn’t played since the Dec. 21st poll came out, but that didn’t stop the Bulldogs from dropping out of the A.P. Top 25 and moving up a couple notches in the ESPN/USA Today. Go figure.

The newest rankings were released today. Gonzaga went from No. 25 to the first team receiving votes in A.P., and from No. 24 to No. 22 in ESPN/USA Today.

Here’s the link

New Smith poll: Idahoans high on Risch, Crapo, Simpson and Minnick - less so on Otter

Idaho pollster Greg Smith today released results of a new poll, conducted June 15-18 of 400 randomly selected Idahoans 18 or older, and found that U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Congressmen Walt Minnick and Mike Simpson all are seen much more favorably by Idahoans than unfavorably. Gov. Butch Otter, while also ranked favorably by nearly half of Idahoans, was viewed unfavorably by 35 percent.

Here are the numbers: Crapo, 59 percent favorable, 17 percent unfavorable; Risch, 49 percent favorable, 19 percent unfavorable; Minnick, 47 percent favorable, 20 percent unfavorable; Simpson, 56 percent favorable, 8 percent unfavorable. For Otter, the comparable figures were 47 percent favorable, 35 percent unfavorable.

Smith poll: Idahoans unexcited about Obama

Idaho pollster Greg Smith today released results of a new statewide poll that showed that Idahoans are less favorable toward President Barack Obama than the nation, but they don’t feel all that strongly about it. The poll, which queried randomly selected 400 Idahoans 18 and older from June 15-18, also found that 53.8 percent of Idahoans feel the state is going in the right direction. Tomorrow, he’ll release results looking at Idahoans’ perceptions of Gov. Butch Otter and the state’s four-member congressional delegation. Click below for today’s results.

About those polls and focus groups re: taxes that we’ve been hearing about…

Confirmed.

A group of health- and education groups have each kicked in $20,000 each to pay for polls and focus groups to figure out which tax increases would have the best chance with voters. The group has no name, but contributors include the state hospital association, community clinics, Group Health, the Washington Education Association and SEIU, according to Cassie Sauer, spokeswoman for the hospital association.

“All of us felt that the (state budget) cuts, without revenue, are so devastating, especially to health care and education, that it would be irreponsible, immoral and unconscionable to not consider whether we could raise revenues,” Sauer said.

She wouldn’t share the polling data, but said that the results, gathered over the past month, suggest that the public has no idea how deep state budget cuts could go. When told, she said, voters seem willing to pay for some taxes to offset those cuts.

The groups have aimed for about $2 billion in new money, asking people how they feel about certain cuts and certain taxes. Sin taxes — cigarettes, alcohol, candy, gum — seem acceptable, Sauer said.

They didn’t even try asking about a property tax hike, she said. “I don’t think that’s going to be on the table at all,” Sauer said. People are too concerned about losing their homes, she said.

Voters were somewhat willing to consider a sales tax increase, she said.

Interestingly, when the focus groups were asked what might be cut, the only thing most could cite was the recent decision to close some driver-licensing offices.

“People have no clue what the cuts are that are being considered,” she said. “They’re aware that there’s a huge budget shortfall, but they don’t know what’s at risk. When they hear what’s at risk, they’re stunned.”

Sauer said that lawmakers were briefed on the results over the weekend.

“They are definitely interested,” she said.

Lawmakers have repeatedly said that if they decide to try to offset deep budget cuts with a tax hike, they’ll put the proposal before voters. Sauer said the coalition is also preparing for a campaign to convince voters to back such a measure.

House votes to make Pierce County — like the rest of the state — vote by mail…

With 38 of Washington’s 39 counties voting almost entirely by mail, Washington’s House of Representatives voted tonight to make it 39.

The House passed HB 1572, to make Pierce County vote by mail as well.

It’s an emotional issue, with proponents saying that it’s expensive and complicated for the county to run poll- and mail voting at the same time. Several local lawmakers, however, argued that poll voting is a hallowed tradition.

“This is absolutely wrong,” Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Roy, said of bill. “…When the people want the right to decide for themselves, let them decide for themselves.”

“I’ve heard all the arguments about how this is a family affair and people like to go to the polls,” said Rep. Sherry Appleton. But mail voting gives people time to look at the voters’ guides, candidate websites and other information to make an informed, deliberative decision, she said.

Longtime poll voter Rep. Dennis Flannigan, D-Tacoma, decided to support the bill in the name of saving money. Until now, “I’ve been a fierce defender of standing in line for 2 1/2 hours” at the polls, he said.

Rep. Jim McCune, R-Graham, said the state telling local people how to vote “is just wrong. It’s not American. It’s just wrong.”

“It’s nothing that’s going to affect you, so if you could just leave this alone, we would appreciate it,” added Rep. Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake.

And Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, drew a guffaw by saying that House Republicans were adamantly opposed to all-mail voting: “Our side of the aisle believes very strongly that females should be allowed to vote also,” he said.

The bill passed 54-43.

Poll: Inauguration Feelings

How are you feeling about today’s inauguration?/SeattlePI

  1.  Hopeful/optimistic
  2. Nervous/jittery/anxious/worried
  3. Excited
  4. Cautious
  5. Impatient
  6. Happy
  7. Sad
  8. Scared
  9. Patriotic
  10. None of the above