August 26, 2016

Poll: Here’s how voters want lawmakers to fix the budget deficit

Delaying or freezing corporate income tax cuts and across-the-board budget cuts are two of the most popular proposals for bridging the state’s large budget deficit.

6That comes from a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for NM Political Report.

Respondents were asked to choose from a list of five options for balancing the budget.

The options were “Delaying or freezing corporate income tax cuts,” “bringing back taxes on food and medicine,” “increasing the state gasoline tax,” “cutting education spending” and “enacting across-the-board spending cuts.”

After choosing their top choice, respondents were also asked to choose a second-best option from the same list.

In both cases, respondents saw delaying incoming corporate income tax cuts delay and enacting across-the-board spending cuts as the two most popular choices.

In all, 38 percent chose delaying the corporate income tax cuts as their top choice, while 30 percent supported across-the-board spending cuts as the best way to fix the budget. No other choice received 10 percent.

New Mexico is facing a deficit of more than $450 million. Gov. Susana Martinez favors balancing the budget without raising taxes while Democratic leaders in the state Legislature say they won’t agree to any cuts in education spending. Martinez has also said she doesn’t want to freeze incoming corporate tax cuts.

When asked for a second choice, 21 percent of respondents chose across-the-board spending cuts, while 18 percent supported delaying the corporate income tax cuts. Fifteen percent of respondents supported raising the state gasoline tax as their second choice.

First choice budget PPP finalBetween the first and second choices, 56 percent supported delaying corporate income taxes to balance the budget while 51 percent believed the same of across-the-board spending cuts.

Raising the state gasoline tax came in a distant third at 22 percent of both first and second choices to best fix New Mexico’s budget deficit.

In last place were the 8 percent of respondents who supported bringing back taxes on food and medicine.

A nearly equal amount of Democrats and independents supported delaying or freezing corporate income taxes as their first choice—44 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of independents, followed by 24 percent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, 43 percent of Republicans chose across-the-board spending cuts as their top choice to balance the budget, followed by 29 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats.

As for the second-best choice, 30 percent of independents chose across-the-board cuts, joined by 21 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats.

Second choice budget PPP finalTwenty percent of Republicans chose a corporate income tax freeze, as did 17 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of independents.

Public Policy Polling conducted the survey from Aug. 19 to 21 and surveyed 1,103 registered voters across New Mexico.The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percent.

The pollster surveyed 80 percent of respondents by landline phone and 20 percent via internet panels, aimed a cell phone-only voters.

Public Policy Polling conducted the poll based on questions submitted by NM Political Report. The pollster does conduct polls for Democratic campaigns, though no campaign or other group outside NM Political Report had input on this poll’s contents.

Later today, NM Political Report will release the full toplines and crosstabs of the poll.