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Spin Control

Elway Poll: Tax initiatives ahead, but not winning

Three initiatives that would change the state's tax policies -- instituting an income tax, dropping a series of consumer taxes or requiring supermajorities to pass new taxes -- have more support than opposition among voters, a new poll by Elway Research Inc. indicates.

But none of the three has a majority of voters saying they'd vote yes if they were casting ballots right now.

One of the proposals, which would require any new tax imposed by the state to get a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature, seems to have lost support over the summer, pollster H. Stuart Elway said.

Three other initiative to change the way the state handles liquor sales or the compensation system for injured workers also have less than half the voters polled saying they will definitely or probably vote yes.

"I think the initiatives are in trouble," Elway said. "You bette be well over 50 percent before the heavy campaign season starts, because support tends to erode" when the opposition starts its advertising push.

I-1053, which would require a two-thirds majority in the Legislature to pass any tax increase, has lost support from a similar survey in June. The current poll has 48 percent of voters saying they would definitely or probably vote yes on that measure; in June, 65 percent said they would probably or definitely vote yes. The opposition stayed relatively the same in both polls, with about a fourth of voters in both surveys saying they'd probably or definitely vote no. The real shift was in undecided voters, which jumpted to about one in four voters now, up from about one in 10 voters in June.

Also of note: Many of the initiatives have significant numbers of voters who are undecided on those initiatives. That could be because some are confusing -- for example, there are two separate proposals to end the state monopoly on liquor store sales, although in slightly different ways.

"One old adage is that confused voters tend to vote  no on ballot measures," Elway said.

For details on the Elway Poll for initiatives, click here to go inside the blog.

Initiative 1053: Requiring a 2/3rds majority for tax increases:

Definitely for:       25%
Probably for:        23%
Probably against: 13%
Definitely against: 14%
Undecided:            25%

Initiative 1098: Income tax on "high earners"

Definitely for:         28%
Probably for           16%
Probably against:   15%
Definitely against:   27%
Undecided:             14%

Initiative 1107: Repeal new taxes on candy, soda and bottled water

Definitely for:            31%
Probably for:            16%
Probably against:      16%
Definitely against       22%
Undecided:                15%

Initiative 1100: Privatize liquor sales and repeal certal requirements for beer and wine distributors

Definitely for:          28%
Probably for:           17%
Probably against:     17%
Definitely against:      17%
Undecided:                21%

Initiative 1105:   Privatize liquor sailes and revise laws concerining regulation, taxation and revenues from sale and distribution of spirits

Definitely for:          24%
Probably for:           17%
Probably against:     15%
Definitely against:     18%
Undecided:                26%

Initiative 1082: Authorize private industrial insurance

Definitely for:         14%
Probably for:          17%
Probably against:   17%
Definitely against:   14%
Undecided:              38%

Elway Research Inc. contacted 500 likely voters between Sept. 9-12 for this survey, which has a 4.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level; that is, if the survey were repeated 100 times, the results would fall within 4.5 percent of these 95 times.


Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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