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Californians back tax extensions

Original post made by Sandy, Mohr Park, on Mar 16, 2011

A Reuters article reports on the results of a new Field poll at this

This story contains 187 words.

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Comments (14)

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Posted by Beth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Borrowed from Wikipedia:

Response bias

Survey results may be affected by response bias, where the answers given by respondents do not reflect their true beliefs. This may be deliberately engineered by unscrupulous pollsters in order to generate a certain result or please their clients, but more often is a result of the detailed wording or ordering of questions (see below). Respondents may deliberately try to manipulate the outcome of a poll by e.g. advocating a more extreme position than they actually hold in order to boost their side of the argument or give rapid and ill-considered answers in order to hasten the end of their questioning. Respondents may also feel under social pressure not to give an unpopular answer. For example, respondents might be unwilling to admit to unpopular attitudes like racism or sexism, and thus polls might not reflect the true incidence of these attitudes in the population. In American political parlance, this phenomenon is often referred to as the Bradley Effect. If the results of surveys are widely publicized this effect may be magnified - a phenomenon commonly referred to as the spiral of silence.

Wording of questions

It is well established that the wording of the questions, the order in which they are asked and the number and form of alternative answers offered can influence results of polls. For instance, the public is more likely to indicate support for a person who is described by the operator as one of the "leading candidates". This support itself overrides subtle bias for one candidate, as does lumping some candidates in an "other" category or vice versa. Thus comparisons between polls often boil down to the wording of the question. On some issues, question wording can result in quite pronounced differences between surveys.

In other words, without more information on the questions and methodology of the poll, the information is useless except to promote a political agenda. Kind of like the poll commissioned by the Pleasanton Unified School District to sell another parcel tax election to support raises.

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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Here's the full report: Web Link

The insinuation that the Field Poll is conducted by "unscrupulous pollsters" without any evidence to support it is... tenuous.

According to the report: "The maximum sampling error estimates for results based on the overall registered voters sample is +/- 3.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, while findings based on the random subsample of voters have a sampling error of +/- 4.8 percentage points."

It is human nature to dismiss information that is inconsistent with your preconceptions, rather than challenging those preconceptions... (see wikipedia, confirmation bias). What if, rather than giving in to that bias, we entertain the notion that the Field Poll might be an accurate representation of public opinion?

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm

"So, will there be any Republicans in state government willing to respect the right of the people to decide on the tax extensions? Or will the minority prevail again, because of California's 2/3rds rule?"

I am hoping the "minority" will prevail. I plan to vote NO on these initiatives since Brown has not even began to address the huge problem of unfuned liabilities and pensions.

I am glad we need 2/3's to pass these taxes.

Brown's solution to solve the huge fiscal mess in California by extending the taxes is about as dumb as school districts trying to pass parcel taxes that are a simple band-aid, a way to avoid addressing the bigger issue: raises, pensions. The tax initiatives even if approved, would not help solve the huge fiscal crisis in Califiornia, just like parcel taxes would not help the deficit faced by districts (some taxes won't even be enough to cover raises)

Address the root problem! Brown: reform unions, address the issues of pensions and unfunded liabilities before you expect the taxpayers to give more money. School districts: address the issue of step and column and pensions. You cannot have teachers getting raises and former (and still quite young) employees getting 100K+ pensions while at the same time, threatening to cut student programs.

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Posted by poll watchers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Yesterday's poll results on Obama approval ratings:

Gallup 3/13 - 3/15 1500 A 48 44 +4
Rasmussen Reports 3/13 - 3/15 1500 LV 42 56 -14
CNN 3/11 - 3/13 1023 A 50 47 +3
ABC News/Wash Post 3/10 - 3/13 1005 A 51 45 +6
Bloomberg 3/4 - 3/7 1001 A 51 43 +8
Reuters/Ipsos 3/3 - 3/6 1040 A 49 47 +2

Among the 'unscrupulous' pollsters out there, the only one that seems to stand out is evidenced from above. Let's see ... which one? Hmmmmmm. Must be a liberal plot.

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Posted by radical
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Mar 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm

a few chinks in the armor there Ted...

Web Link

...a majority of voters (52%) prefer eliminating the state budget deficit through a roughly equal mix of spending cuts and increases in tax revenues, voters have a hard time identifying which specific state program areas they would be willing to cut...

...telephone interviews with 898 registered voters... (small sample, registered voters indicates not reflective of actual people who go to the polls)

...Just one in nine registered voters (11%) favor relying mostly on increases in tax revenue as the way to close the deficit. Nearly three times as many (32%) prefer mostly spending cuts as the remedy....

By a 55% to 43% margin Californians say they are not willing to pay higher taxes for the purpose of helping the state balance its budget. However, by a 61% to 37% margin voters agree with the statement, "I would be willing to extend the temporary tax increases enacted several years ago to help the state balance its budget."

Conclusion from the poll, CA voters are CONFUSED!!!!

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Posted by poll watchers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Name isn't Ted. It's Jed. And as one of the Clampet clan, you oughta know that.

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Posted by Hmmm...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Radical, rather than deducing that CA voters are confused, possibly another reasonable deduction from what you said is that the slight majority of those CA voters polled are not willing to vote for any NEW taxes, but are willing to extend those already in force in order to help balance the budget, in conjunction with implementing serious budget cuts.

Seems logical to me.

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Posted by poll watchers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm

... only thing is, when asked what specific budget cuts voters want, they draw a blank. Budget cuts sounds good in the abstract; but of course most discretionary budget items are tied to real human needs.

Also, the 'study' apparently neglected to ask voters whether they supported raising taxes (solely) on the wealthy. My strong hunch, given other recent polls, is that the responses would have indicated a majority willingness to tax the rich.

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Posted by BS
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 17, 2011 at 6:32 am

We could start the cuts by eliminating those workers at the border of Oregon who ask if you are bringing in any fruits or vegetables. They are there 24/7, there are 8 of them, and they make big money and we are the only state which does this stupid stuff.

We have more people in Oregon then we do guarding the border with Mexico!!! "excuse me sir, are you bringing in Mexicans in today?"

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Posted by SteveP
a resident of Parkside
on Mar 17, 2011 at 8:46 am

SteveP is a registered user.

In any case, regardless as to the outcome driven polls, it takes a 2/3 majority to pass any tax laws, even extensions, so our Dem legislature is going to have to figure out how to tighten the pursestrings for their favorite pet causes, projects, organized mobs.

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Posted by poll watchers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

Worst President in U.S. history still gets 50+ percentage approval ratings from American public. radical/BS/Steve and other Sarah Palin devotees all claim polls (exception: Rasmussen) are run by union thugs who desire to bring Mexicans illegally into U.S. Steve claims he's looking forward to Presidential election in 2014.

Gallup 3/14 - 3/16 1500 A 50 43 +7

Rasmussen Reports 3/14 - 3/16 1500 LV 44 55 -11

CNN 3/11 - 3/13 1023 A 50 47 +3

ABC News/Wash Post 3/10 - 3/13 1005 A 51 45 +6

Bloomberg 3/4 - 3/7 1001 A 51 43 +8

Reuters/Ipsos 3/3 - 3/6 1040 A 49 47 +2

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Posted by average voter
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm

as one blog puts it today, you can get ANY result you want.

"Asked more directly, “The governor is proposing to extend for five more years the one-cent increase in the state sales tax, the ½ percent increase in vehicle license fees and the ¼ percent increase in personal income taxes that the state enacted in 2009. Some of the money would be transferred to local governments for schools, public safety and other services. If the statewide special election were held today, would you vote yes to approve this extension of taxes or no to return these taxes to their previous levels?”

In this setting, by a 58% to 39% margin, voters say they would vote yes to support the governor’s proposal."

Sounds minor, doesn't it? Want would the result be if the question was, "Would you approve a tax increase of $70 billion over five years to continue government as we know it?

How would the vote go if asked, "Even with the tax increase, the spending of government will grow from $84 billion today to $111 billion in 2014-5..all the tax increases will go to the growth of government?
Web Link

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Posted by poll watchers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Are you that clueless? Which of those questions is tailored to individuals' specific everyday experiences?

Big abstract numbers, detached from specific life needs, is what Repubs do to scare voters.

By posing the dichotomy as you have, you reveal how out of touch with humanity you are. Citizens' lives and life needs are not reducible to abstract bean counting and equations. I bet your mother paid you every time you did a chore, and took money away from you every time you did something wrong. Look at the result she produced!

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Posted by Taxed enough
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2011 at 1:28 pm


I'm tired of paying for other people's retirement, other people's raises while revenue is flat or declining, and inefficient government/government programs. It’s past time for all levels of government to learn/understand the concepts of a sustainable budget, sound financial planning, and efficiency. You would think the Great Recession would have provided some valuable lessons but it appears that’s not the case. Didn’t we just approve temporary tax increases, just two years ago, to help fund and resolve budget issues? Was anything actually resolved?

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