New polling shows support slim for Brown's tax plan, stronger for ending death penalty

A new study released last night by the Public Policy Institute of California shows weak support for the Proposition 30 tax initiative and a split vote on the competing Proposition 38 tax, strong support for repealing the death penalty, and general indecision on Propositions 31 and 32.

Prop 30, a combination of Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal for a sales tax hike and the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax,” would raise sales taxes for all residents by 0.25% for four years and increase income taxes on those making more than $250,000 annually on a sliding scale for a total of seven years. The initiative is currently polling at 52 percent support and 40 percent opposition, with 8 percent of voters undecided. Prop 38, a competing measure that would raise income taxes across the board for a 12 year period, has roughly 45 percent of voters both in favor and opposed.

As is typical with issues concerning taxes, Democrats strongly favor both proposals, and Republicans reject both. Independent voters lean slightly in favor of the measures, with 53 percent saying they support both measures. Voters under age 35, typically a strong Democratic bloc, heavily favor the measures, with 72 percent supporting Prop 30 and 67 percent favoring Prop 38.

Prop 31, which would “establish a two-year state budget, set rules for offsetting new expenditures and budget cuts enacted by the governor, and allow local governments to alter the application of laws governing programs funded by the state,” has received little media coverage and does not draw strong voter opinion in any direction. Overall, 25 percent of likely voters say they’re supportive, 42 percent say they’ll vote against the measure, and 32 percent are undecided. The Institute could not find a single bloc of voters by party affiliation, age, or other measure that strongly supported the initiative. Only 29 percent of poll respondents say the outcome of this vote is “very important” to them.

Prop 32, which would bar unions, corporations, and government entities from collecting voluntary payroll deductions for political purposes and prohibit union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees (but not to independently controlled “Super PACs”), shows a slight inclination of falling. Overall, 42 percent of likely voters support the measure, while 49 percent oppose it – opposition among Democrats is strong at 61 percent, though the measure enjoys slim majorities of 53 percent and 52 percent among Republicans and independents, respectively.

More general questions about voter attitudes were asked that give insight to Proposition 34, which would repeal the death penalty, and Proposition 36, which revises the state’s “three strikes” law.

Fifty percent of respondents believe the penalty for first-degree murder should be life in prison without the possibility of parole, and 42 percent say it should be death. The life-in-prison contingent shows the same strength as the last time the question was asked in September 2011, though proponents of the death penalty have dropped slightly, from 45 percent previously.

Regarding three strikes, 73 percent of voters say they favor amending the law, which says any “third strike” felony must carry a sentence of 25 years to life imprisonment, to specify that a third felony must be “serious or violent” to qualify for the maximum sentence.

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The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false. Proposition 34 is being funded primarily by a wealthy company out of Chicago and the ACLU. It includes provisions that would make our prisons less safe for both other prisoners and prison officials. It significantly increases the costs to taxpayers due to life-time medical costs, the increased security required to coerce former death-row inmates to work, the money to pay those inmates to work, etc. The amount “saved” in order to help fund law enforcement is negligible and only for three years. (The money is taken from the general fund irregardless of whether Prop 34 actually saves any money.) Prop. 34 also takes away funds inmates could use to actually fight for their innocence, increasing the risk that innocent people will spend the rest of their lives in jail. The dollars Prop. 34 takes away ensure both that innocent people are not executed or spend the rest of their lives in jail. Get the facts and supporting evidence at,, and

You are nothing but a spin master. Prop 34 is passing b/c the death penalty is applied unequally and the appeals process costs twice to three times the cost of life in prison.

The 729 convicted murderers on death row were convicted of brutally killing at least 1,279 people. At least 230 of them were children. 75 more were young adults between the ages of 18-20. Another 82 victims were older than 65.

Of these victims, at least 211 of them were raped and 319 of them robbed. Sixty-six victims were killed in execution style, usually bound and shot in the back of the head. Forty-seven victims were tortured.

Forty-three of these victims were law enforcement agents and another seven were security guards. Not included in these numbers are cases where the killer attempted to kill a police officer, but was unsuccessful, as in the case of Oswaldo Amezcua who shot three police officers.

An important consideration in changing a killer’s sentence to life is whether he has murdered other inmates while incarcerated. Eleven death sentences were handed down after an already-incarcerated inmate murdered another inmate. Troy Ashmus had previously killed an inmate and viciously attacked a deputy while incarcerated for another crime. Joseph Barrett killed an inmate while incarcerated for having killed a teacher. Kenneth Bivert killed an inmate while already incarcerated on three counts of murder. John Capistrano had a previous conviction for killing an inmate and attacked another inmate in a holding cell. Joseph Danks was already incarcerated for six murders when he killed the inmate which led to his death sentence. Martin Drews was also serving time for murder when he killed an inmate. Similarly, Lee Capers brought a knife to court to stab one of the witnesses testifying against him.

You are nothing but a spin master. Prop 34 is passing b/c the death penalty is applied unequally and the appeals process costs twice to three times the cost of life in prison..

Our courts so often resemble farce, and prosecutors have the lead role. Should Bonnie Dumanis have the power of life and death? Those that think politicians are too stupid to spend their tax dollar believe they should be able to kill people. I'm so happy people worked to put this proposal on the ballot and that it gets support. Yes on 34 and 36.

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