By Juliet Williams
SACRAMENTO — Support is slipping for Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, with 48 percent of likely voters saying they favor the proposal to raise the statewide sales tax and increase income taxes on the wealthy, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.
The survey found that 48 percent of likely voters said they support Proposition 30, while 44 percent said they would vote no, and 8 percent were undecided. The Oct. 14-21 survey shows a decrease in support of 4 percentage points and increase in opposition of the same amount since the last poll in September.
The survey has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Brown’s initiative would boost the statewide sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years and raise income taxes on people who make more than $250,000 a year for seven years to fund K-12 schools and help balance the state budget.
Support is even lower for a competing initiative that would raise income taxes to directly fund California schools. Proposition 38 had 39 percent support, with 53 percent opposed and 9 percent undecided.
That initiative, backed by wealthy attorney Molly Munger, would raise income taxes on nearly all taxpayers on a sliding scale. The money would go directly to school districts, bypassing the Legislature.
Although voters appear to be showing tepid support for the governor’s tax initiative, about three-quarters said they oppose the $6 billion in cuts to K-12 schools and colleges that Brown has said will take effect if Proposition 30 fails.
Dan Newman, a spokesman for Proposition 30, said voters eventually will back the initiative because they don’t want more cuts to schools.
“Our internal polls show it stronger, but it’s good to see another poll showing voters continue to support Prop. 30 even after facing a barrage of false attack ads,” Newman said in an email.
A spokesman for the Proposition 38 campaign said a lot can change before the election.
“We have two new ads that just went up on the air, and we expect them to help us win over voters,” said Joe Arellano, spokesman for Yes on 38.
The Public Policy Institute also surveyed likely voters on other items on the November ballot. It found:
* They oppose Proposition 31, an initiative to alter the state budget, with 48 percent opposed and 24 percent in favor. More than a quarter are undecided.
* Proposition 32, which would curb unions’ ability to collect contributions for political activities, is behind with just 39 percent saying they favor it and 53 percent against; 7 percent are undecided.
* Californians support Democratic President Barack Obama 53 percent to 41 percent over Republican Mitt Romney.
The institute said Brown’s approval rating is holding steady at about 45 percent, but his disapproval rating has grown to 43 percent from 35 percent in September 2011.
The survey interviewed 993 likely voters by land line and cellphone in English and Spanish.