Back in March Sherwin had a great post on polling and context, using an Elway poll as reference. Yesterday Elway released an updated poll conducted in the aftermath of the Skagit Bridge Collapse. From the Seattle Times ($):
A gasoline tax remains particularly objectionable, opposed by 63 percent of those in the new survey — down from 72 percent in March.
In the new survey, 53 percent opposed a license-tab tax increase, down from 62 percent in March.
And 52 percent opposed tolling major roadways, down from 61 percent in March.
Overall, 54 percent of those in the new survey agreed with the statement that we cannot afford to raise taxes to pay for transportation improvements at this time. Forty percent said we can’t afford not to improve our transportation system, so taxes will have to be raised.
For transit supporters this is a mixed result. While many feel the current highway expansion package is flawed and hope it will fail (see comments at link), most agree that we need to raise the gas tax and other user fees in order to maintain what we already have and fund alternatives to driving.
Thankfully, an EMC poll was released today with starkly different results. On the surface the poll subject seems similar, but Erica Barnett at PubliCola made some good points about differences between the two. However, I think she missed the most important distinction. The Elway poll asked only about unspecified “transportation improvements” while the EMC specified a “statewide transportation package this year to address congestion and safety issues; fund road and bridge maintenance and improvements; and provide additional transit funding.”
In other words, when the question is framed as Fix It and Transit, it wins across the board.