BY JIM MILLER
Published: 04 July 2012 06:01 AM
SACRAMENTO — Voters are of mixed minds on the level of spending reductions in California’s newly minted budget. Some believe the total was too high, others too low, and some think it was just about right.
But a new Field Poll shows that voters largely agree on a major part of the budget approved last week: They hate the idea of billions in automatic “trigger” cuts to schools and other programs if a tax-increase measure pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown fails at the polls in November.
Seventy-two percent of registered voters oppose the approach, 19 percent support it, and 9 percent have no opinion — “a very negative reaction,” said Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo.
“It’s not something that voters think is a great way to do public policy. It’s almost like holding a gun to their heads,” DiCamillo said Tuesday. “If there is a shortage, they would prefer (lawmakers) come back after the election and deal with it.”
Brown continues to get so-so reviews from voters, today’s poll shows. Forty-four percent of voters approve of Brown’s job performance, 42 percent disapprove, and 14 percent have no opinion. Voters’ opinions break down along partisan lines, with 58 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of independents, and only 21 percent of Republicans giving the governor good marks.
Brown’s approval numbers are largely unchanged from an earlier survey in May, but the share of voters who give the governor low marks has steadily increased since March 2011.
“Over time, he’s accruing more and more critics. They’re coming out of the undecided column,” DiCamillo said. “That’s kind of ominous as we move toward the November election.”
Brown’s ballot measure is a central part of the $91.3 billion general-fund package approved by majority Democrats last week and signed by the governor late Wednesday, four days before the start of the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The plan assumes $5.6 billion in revenue from voters agreeing to temporarily raise the sales tax and increase personal income tax rates on wealthy residents.
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