Poll: California voters like Brown's tax proposal, don't care for Mitt Romney

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A poll sponsored by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times indicates nearly two-thirds of voters support Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax proposals.

“It appears the governor has pulled off something of a political coup,” Dan Schnur, director of the USC Unruh Institute of Politics, said.

Schnur said Brown was able to strike a compromise with the teachers union that had them abandon their competing plan “with minimal substantive changes” to his own. That leaves only one rival tax measure.

“It looks like the governor made a very adroit move,” Schnur said of the poll showing strong support for Brown’s plan.

Under the proposal, the sale tax would jump a quarter cent for four years and income taxes would go up for people making more than $250,000 annually.

Support could wane, Schnur said. “What remains to be seen is whether the state’s business community and other potential opponents weigh in against it.”

One key group strongly supports Brown’s plan, which has yet to qualify for the November ballot. Nearly three quarters of independent voters back it, the poll found.

California Republicans lukewarm on Romney

The poll also found California Republicans are as unhappy with their likely presidential nominee as their brethren across the country.

The poll found Mitt Romney leads Rick Santorum 42-23 percent in California, because the state is full of his kind of Republicans.

“You have a higher percentage of higher-income voters, a higher percentage of college-educated voters,” said Linda DiVall, CEO of the polling company American Viewpoint.

She noted California also has a dearth of evangelical voters who might favor Santorum.

Like so many in the GOP, half of California Republicans wish they had other options for president, according to the poll.

The poll found President Barack Obama easily winning the Golden State in November, but voters could punish Democrats if gas prices continue to rise.

“They could decide perhaps to take their anger out not against President Obama, but perhaps against a Democratic candidate who is running for Congress,” DiVall said.

The USC/Los Angeles Times poll of likely voters has a margin of error of 3 percent. It was conducted March 14-19 and surveyed 1,500 registered voters in California.

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