Will Gov. Brown’s Dip in Public Opinion Hurt His Tax Hike Proposal?

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The Public Policy Institute of California released a poll earlier this week showing that Governor Brown’s approval has dropped among likely voters.

The margin is slim, but now tips toward disapproval of his performance, 43 percent of those polled disapprove and 42 percent approve. This marks a new low for the Brown administration, which until now has enjoyed fairly good ratings.

One potential cause of the governor’s drop in public opinion can be attributed to the release of his May Budget Revise earlier last week. The revised budget detailed the dramatic growth of California’s deficit to over $15.7 billion, up from January’s projection of $9.2 billion. The announcement also came in conjunction with a series of proposed cuts and a plea to support his tax hike initiative on the ballot this November.

Despite taking a hit on personal performance favorability, it seems that Brown’s ballot initiative aimed to raise taxes has held steady in the polls, according to the PPIC figures. The level of support is even slightly higher than before, now sitting at 56 percent. In an interesting turn, the fear and severity of the proposed budget cuts could actually be an effective tool in generating the votes needed to pass the tax hike.

Brown isn’t the only one that sees opportunity in public discontent. Republicans have been quick to take jabs at the revised budget and tax proposal, in hopes of turning public dissatisfaction into a “no” vote at the ballot boxes.

“If the governor’s tax proposal does not pass, he has threatened Californians with another $6 billion in mid-year trigger cuts, 99 percent of which would impact our kids’ classrooms. And even if his tax initiative passes, the money will not be used in the classroom, but rather on paying down debt and public pension costs,” stated Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway in an opinion editorial released earlier this week.