Civitas Poll: Temporary 1 Cent Sales Tax Unpopular

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Voters Know Tax Won’t be “Temporary”

Raleigh, N.C. – As House and Senate budget negotiators appear to be inching towards a compromise revenue package to raise nearly $1 billion in new taxes, voters are overwhelmingly opposed to temporarily increasing the state sales tax by one cent to 7.75 percent.

When asked of their support for an emergency one cent sales tax increase as part of Governor Perdue’s plan to maintain essential state services, 66 percent of voters were opposed to the tax increase.  30 percent supported raising the sales tax by one cent.

Voters are also not fooled by elected officials promising that tax increases will be temporary.  77 percent of voters said that they believed the emergency one cent sales tax increase would become permanent.  Only 13 percent thought the tax would expire as promised.

“Having been repeatedly told that previous tax increases would be temporary, yet remain in effect, voters are wary of promises that anything will be different this time,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes. “Two thirds of voters disapprove of raising the sales tax by one cent.  If this is the road that the House and Senate leadership has decided to choose, it is an unpopular route.”

The one cent tax increase is met with across-the-board opposition.  Two-thirds of both African-American and white voters oppose increasing the sales tax.  It is opposed by 59 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of unaffiliated voters and 77 percent of Republicans.

“When you see universal opposition to this proposal, it makes sense why Perdue’s favorability rating is so low given her public support for raising taxes,” Hayes added.  “Voters are convinced that the Governor and legislators have not made every effort to rid the budget of wasteful spending in order to avoid tax increases.”

The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. For more polling information on Civitas polling see

Full text of questions:

Governor Perdue has announced a plan to raise taxes by $3.3 billion over the next two years in order to maintain essential state services.  Do you support or oppose this plan?

Support – 21%
Oppose – 69%
Not Sure – 9%

As part of her plan, Governor Perdue has proposed an emergency 1-cent increase in the state sales tax bringing it to 7.75%.  Do you support or oppose this proposal?

Support – 30%
Oppose – 66%
Not Sure – 4%

Governor Perdue says that her emergency 1-cent sales tax increase will only be temporary and will expire next fall. Do you in fact believe it will expire or will it end up being made a permanent sales tax increase?

Expire – 13%
Become Permanent – 77%
Not Sure – 9%

Do you believe Governor Perdue and the State Legislature have done all they can to remove wasteful spending from the state budget in order to prevent the need for a tax increase?

Yes – 11%
No – 79%
Not Sure – 10%

Click here for full results and crosstabs.

The study of 600 registered voters was conducted July14-17, 2009 by Tel Opinion Research of Alexandria, Virginia.  All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters we interviewed had to have voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.

The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.

This article was posted in Press Releases by efield on July 23, 2009 at 3:07 PM.

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