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Poll: Voters support sales tax increase

A new poll shows strong support among voters for Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to raise the state’s sales tax by a penny to pay for education during the economic downturn.

The latest poll, a telephone survey of 500 likely voters conducted July 21 by Rasmussen Reports, shows 57 percent of respondents support the sales tax increase, while only 38 percent oppose it. Brewer, a Republican, has been calling for lawmakers to approve a special election to allow voters to decide whether the tax should be increased for three years to pay for education and public safety.

But strong opposition to the idea among Republican lawmakers in June led to the disintegration of a budget deal Brewer had struck with GOP leaders. The ballot referral was a component of the deal, and Brewer vetoed a large portion the budget when it was not approved by legislators. She has since called the Legislature into a special session to craft a new spending plan.

The poll also shows voters are split on their opinion of Brewer, who became governor in January after Janet Napolitano resigned the state’s top post to join President Barack Obama’s administration. The Rasmussen survey reported 48 percent of voters think Brewer is doing a good job, while an equal amount disagreed.

In May, another Rasmussen poll showed 51 percent of voters approved of Brewer’s performance.

The Legislature, on the other hand, has not handled the budget crisis well, according to the 43 percent of voters who rated lawmakers’ performance as poor. Another 38 percent said they had done a fair job, while 16 percent rated their work as good and only 1 percent said they had done an excellent job.

Meanwhile, 51 percent of the voters said Brewer had done a fair job of handling the budget crisis, with only 21 percent calling her work poor. One in five voters said she had done a good job, while 5 percent called her performance excellent.

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