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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Poll: Tax initiative support slipping, animal initiative strong

Voters seem evenly split on an initiative that tries to force legislators to pass a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds majorities to increase taxes, a new survey says.

But another ballot measure that would place state restrictions on ivory and products from endangered species has strong support in the survey released by The Elway Poll.

Initiative 1366, the latest ballot measure from Tim Eyman, Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan and Fagan’s father, Jack, had support from 42 percent of the 500 registered voters surveyed between Oct. 13 and Oct. 15. It was opposed by another 42 percent. Support is down from a similar survey in July, when 49 percent said they supported it and 36 percent were opposed.

While support has slipped, the fate of I-1366 will come down to voter turnout and “late deciders,” pollster H. Stuart Elway said. About 16 percent of those polled hadn’t made up their mind. The measure does poorly with voters who have cast a ballot in all or most of the last four elections, but undecided voters still are the key to the measure winning or losing, he said.

“If you vote, you have to vote ‘for’ or ‘against,’” he said.

In an e-mail to supporters Monday, Eyman shrugged off the results, saying previous Elway polls have underestimated support for earlier supermajority initiatives. An October 2012 poll showed only 49 percent support for I-1185, which passed with 64 percent approval, he said, and a September 2010 poll on I-1053 showed 48 percent support but it, too, passed with 64 percent.

But a long-term opponent of Eyman initiatives said that’s an incomplete history of how poll results preview how his ballot measures fare. Andrew Villeneuve, of the Northwest Progressive Institute, said in a prepared statement that a 2011 initiative on tolling and a 2013 initiative to expand the initiative laws were losing support in fall Elway Polls those years and ultimately lost. “The trend is what’s important,” he said.

Initiative 1401, which would put new restrictions on ivory and other products made from elephants, rhinos and 10 other endangered animals, had support from about two-thirds of voters surveyed and was opposed by about one-in-four. That’s down slightly from the July poll, which put support at 72 percent, but the proposal still had strong majorities across the board, regardless of political party, age, education or income level.