May 30, 2007 - Pennsylvania Voters Back Rendell Plan To Hike Sales Tax, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Support To Reduce Lawmakers And Set Term Limits

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Despite the recent failure of one proposed tax reform plan, Pennsylvania voters support 56 - 39 percent Gov. Ed Rendell's proposal to hike state sales taxes 1 percent with part of the money used for local property tax relief, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This compares to 54 - 40 percent support in a March 28 poll.

By a 51 - 32 percent margin, Pennsylvania voters do not blame Gov. Rendell for the failure of the referendum swapping local income tax hikes for property tax cuts and give the Governor a 55 - 36 percent overall approval rating, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Voters disapprove 51 - 30 percent of the way Rendell is handling property taxes, compared to a 49 - 34 percent disapproval March 28, when his overall approval was 57 - 33 percent.

"Pennsylvania voters are more and more convinced that a hike in the sales tax is the way to get property tax relief. Some 57 percent now support the proposed one percent sales tax hike to get money to cut property taxes, a slight increase over the last poll two months ago," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Gov. Rendell's approval rating remains strong and he maintains his 'Teflon Ed' image with only about a third of the voters blaming him for the overwhelming defeat of his plan to trade lower property taxes for higher local income taxes.

"But the Governor should be getting a little nervous as voter disapproval of his handling of property taxes increases for the fourth straight poll. For the first time, more than 50 percent disapprove of his performance on the issue."

Property tax reform is "very important," 57 percent of voters say, while 32 percent say it is "somewhat important."

Republicans split 48 - 46 percent in their support of the proposed sales tax hike, while Democrats support it 63 - 33 percent and independent voters back it 53 - 44 percent.

Term Limits for State Lawmakers

Pennsylvania voters disapprove 47 - 34 percent of the job the State Legislature is doing, compared to a 41 - 39 percent disapproval March 28.

Voters support 51 - 32 percent a constitutional amendment that would reduce the number of state legislators from 253 to 201.

Voters also support 75 - 19 percent a constitutional amendment limiting state legislators to a total of eight years in office: four two-year terms for State House members and two four-year terms for state senators.

"Pennsylvania voters back term limits for state lawmakers 4 - 1. And by a slim majority, they would cut the number of lawmakers as well," Richards said.

Voters split 44 - 42 percent on their support of Rendell's proposal to lease the Pennsylvania turnpike to a private company. Voters believe 54 - 30 percent that a possible lease would result in "significant toll increases."

Pennsylvania public schools are "very good" or "fairly good," 66 percent of voters say, and 74 percent say schools in their community are "very good" or "fairly good."

State spending on public schools should be increased, 52 percent of voters say, with 9 percent who say decrease spending and 35 percent who say keep it the same. And 44 percent say spend more money on schools, even if it means raising property taxes, while 40 percent say it's more important to cut property taxes, even if it means cutting school funding.

"Two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters give high grades to public schools in the state, and a majority say spending on public schools should be increased. But voters split almost right down the middle when asked if that increase should come at the expense of higher property taxes," Richards said.

From May 22 - 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,318 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more data -- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x271.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

20. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 55% 35% 71% 51% 56% 54% Disapprove 36 56 20 40 39 33 DK/NA 9 9 8 9 5 13

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Approve 52% 74% 50% 75% 42% 41% 46% Disapprove 38 17 34 19 49 49 46 DK/NA 11 9 16 7 9 9 8

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor? (* Also 46% on 10/5/2005, 4/22/2004, 3/18/2004 and 12/16/2003)

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        May 30  Mar 28  Feb 7   Aug 16  Jun 22  Feb 7   Apr 5
                        2007    2007    2007    2006    2006    2007    2006*


Approve 55 57 61 54 55 61 46 Disapprove 36 33 30 31 30 30 37 DK/NA 9 10 9 15 15 9 17



21. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 34% 27% 43% 30% 36% 33% Disapprove 47 54 38 55 49 46 DK/NA 18 19 19 15 15 21

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Approve 27% 37% 30% 45% 38% 24% 33% Disapprove 48 45 47 32 49 58 54 DK/NA 25 18 23 22 14 17 13

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        May 30  Mar 28  Feb 7   Aug 16  Jun 22  Apr 10  Oct 5
                        2007    2007    2007    2006    2006    2003    2005 


Approve 34 39 39 31 29 49 26 Disapprove 47 41 44 52 54 24 60 DK/NA 18 20 17 17 17 27 14



22. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Arlen Specter is handling his job as United States Senator?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 56% 48% 62% 58% 58% 53% Disapprove 34 41 27 34 35 33 DK/NA 11 11 11 9 8 13

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Approve 60% 61% 49% 57% 58% 47% 56% Disapprove 30 30 36 31 32 44 35 DK/NA 10 9 16 12 10 9 9



TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Arlen Specter is handling his job as United States Senator? (* Also 60% on 5/22/2003 & 2/21/2003)

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        May 30  Mar 28  Feb 7   Aug 15  Jun 21  Jul 13  Apr 22
                        2007    2007    2007    2006    2006    2005*   2004


Approve 56 59 59 50 52 60 47 Disapprove 34 29 33 37 36 30 36 DK/NA 11 12 8 13 12 10 17



23. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 47% 30% 61% 48% 48% 46% Disapprove 21 35 12 16 24 18 DK/NA 32 35 27 36 28 36

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Approve 40% 41% 56% 41% 54% 52% 49% Disapprove 23 14 18 18 25 26 22 DK/NA 36 45 26 40 22 22 29

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?

                        May 30  Mar 28  Feb 7
                        2007    2007    2007


Approve 47 46 49 Disapprove 21 18 19 DK/NA 32 35 32



27. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling property taxes?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 30% 18% 42% 23% 31% 28% Disapprove 51 66 39 57 54 49 DK/NA 19 16 19 20 15 23

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Approve 35% 47% 28% 36% 26% 19% 22% Disapprove 46 31 55 41 58 59 62 DK/NA 19 22 17 23 16 22 16

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling property taxes?

                        May 30  Mar 28  Feb 7   Jun 22  Jul 13  Apr 22  Feb 20
                        2007    2007    2007    2006    2004    2004    2003


Approve 30 34 36 39 41 29 33 Disapprove 51 49 47 41 43 50 33 DK/NA 19 17 17 20 16 21 34



28. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment now being debated in the legislature that would lower the number of state legislators in Pennsylvania from 253 to 201, eliminating 52 legislators?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 51% 56% 46% 55% 57% 46% Oppose 32 26 38 30 31 33 DK/NA 17 18 16 16 12 21

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Support 67% 24% 46% 43% 64% 58% 57% Oppose 19 44 37 39 24 29 30 DK/NA 14 32 17 18 12 13 13



29. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment limiting state senators to 2 four-year terms, and state House members to 4 two-year terms meaning state senators and house members would serve no more than 8 years in office?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 75% 81% 72% 76% 75% 76% Oppose 19 13 22 19 20 18 DK/NA 6 5 6 5 6 6

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Support 81% 78% 71% 72% 79% 81% 72% Oppose 12 15 20 25 13 14 22 DK/NA 7 6 9 4 8 5 6



30. Governor Rendell has proposed leasing the Pennsylvania turnpike to a private company, but keeping state control over toll increases and maintenance schedules. The money would be used to pay for highway and bridge construction. Do you support or oppose this proposal?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 44% 37% 53% 36% 45% 44% Oppose 42 46 36 49 44 40 DK/NA 14 17 11 15 11 16

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Support 41% 46% 42% 45% 49% 44% 45% Oppose 37 37 45 46 38 42 43 DK/NA 22 17 13 9 14 14 12

TREND: Governor Rendell has proposed leasing the Pennsylvania turnpike to a private company, but keeping state control over toll increases and maintenance schedules.The money would be used to pay for highway and bridge construction. Do you support or oppose this proposal?

                        May 30  Mar 28
                        2007    2007


Support 44 49 Oppose 42 41 DK/NA 14 10



31. Governor Rendell says that leasing the turnpike would result in an upfront payment of about 12 - 18 billion dollars by the company leasing the turnpike. He says the state could invest that money and earn nearly one billion dollars a year in interest to be spent on roads and bridges. Does that make you more likely to support leasing the turnpike, less likely, or doesn't it affect your view?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


More likely 38% 34% 42% 33% 36% 39% Less likely 15 16 13 19 16 14 Doesn't affect view 40 43 38 42 42 39 DK/NA 7 7 6 6 6 8

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

More likely 35% 39% 34% 39% 37% 38% 39% Less likely 16 19 18 15 13 14 14 Doesn't affect view 37 33 43 40 44 40 42 DK/NA 12 8 4 6 6 8 6



33. Do you think leasing the turnpike to a private company would result in significant toll increases or don't you think so?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 54% 51% 57% 53% 57% 50% No 30 31 30 31 29 31 DK/NA 16 18 14 16 13 19

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Yes 44% 63% 62% 61% 51% 51% 47% No 36 22 28 21 33 34 36 DK/NA 20 14 11 18 16 16 16



34. Do you think a private company would do a better job maintaining the turnpike than the state government does now, a worse job, or about the same?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Better 30% 34% 26% 29% 33% 26% Worse 13 10 12 20 15 11 About the same 50 49 54 45 47 53 DK/NA 8 8 8 6 5 10

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Better 33% 22% 29% 27% 33% 30% 32% Worse 8 16 15 15 11 15 12 About the same 47 56 49 50 51 47 50 DK/NA 12 6 7 9 4 8 7



35. How would you rate the quality of Pennsylvania's public schools? - Very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?
                                                                        
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very good 12% 13% 12% 11% 10% 15% Fairly good 54 54 53 56 55 53 Fairly bad 14 16 12 15 16 12 Very bad 12 8 15 10 12 12 DK/NA 8 9 8 8 7 9

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Very good 11% 4% 16% 15% 17% 13% 12% Fairly good 48 25 60 57 52 65 60 Fairly bad 23 20 15 6 10 12 13 Very bad 9 41 5 7 16 6 8 DK/NA 8 11 4 14 4 4 7



36. How would you rate the quality of the public schools in your community - Very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very good 32% 35% 31% 30% 31% 33% Fairly good 42 43 41 44 45 40 Fairly bad 10 9 11 13 9 11 Very bad 11 9 13 10 12 10 DK/NA 4 4 4 4 3 5

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Very good 23% 5% 33% 60% 30% 26% 31% Fairly good 43 23 48 28 42 61 50 Fairly bad 11 18 13 4 14 7 10 Very bad 15 46 4 5 10 2 6 DK/NA 7 9 2 4 3 4 3



37. In general do you think state spending on the public schools in Pennsylvania should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Increased 52% 38% 62% 53% 47% 56% Decreased 9 14 4 7 12 6 Kept the same 35 44 30 36 37 34 DK/NA 4 4 4 4 4 5

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Increased 54% 67% 48% 53% 51% 48% 47% Decreased 8 5 8 8 8 10 11 Kept the same 34 22 42 35 37 39 37 DK/NA 5 6 2 4 3 3 5



38. Do you think that property tax reform in Pennsylvania is very important, somewhat important, not too important or not important at all?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very important 57% 58% 56% 58% 60% 55% Smwht important 32 30 34 30 30 33 Not too important 5 5 4 6 5 5 Not important at all 3 4 3 2 4 3 DK/NA 3 3 2 4 2 5

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Very important 51% 57% 52% 57% 64% 60% 59% Smwht important 38 30 34 29 28 32 32 Not too important 5 - 8 7 6 4 5 Not important at all 3 5 2 5 1 2 2 DK/NA 3 7 4 3 1 3 2



39. Which comes closer to your point of view: A) Public schools in Pennsylvania need more money, even if it means B) Property taxes in Pennsylvania need to be lowered, even if it means

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


A) Increase sch budget 44% 31% 54% 45% 41% 47% B) Lower prop taxes 40 53 34 37 44 37 DK/NA 15 17 12 18 16 15

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl A) Increase sch budget 48% 58% 38% 44% 39% 41% 42% B) Lower prop taxes 38 21 45 43 46 47 42 DK/NA 14 21 18 13 15 13 16



40. As you may know voters in local school districts across Pennsylvania have rejected the plan to lower property taxes by increasing local income taxes. Do you think that governor Rendell should be blamed for this defeat or isn't he responsible?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes/Blamed 32% 39% 27% 34% 37% 28% No/Not responsible 51 46 55 50 52 49 DK/NA 17 15 18 16 10 22

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Yes/Blamed 31% 19% 37% 28% 36% 35% 38% No/Not responsible 48 61 49 55 54 45 46 DK/NA 21 20 13 17 10 19 16

41. Governor Rendell has proposed a one percent increase in the state sales tax, with part of the money being used for property tax relief. Do you support or oppose this sales tax increase to help lower property taxes?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 56% 48% 63% 53% 53% 58% Oppose 39 46 33 44 44 35 DK/NA 5 6 4 3 3 7

Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Support 56% 57% 56% 53% 61% 45% 60% Oppose 38 38 39 42 36 50 36 DK/NA 5 5 5 5 3 5 4

TREND. Governor Rendell has proposed a one percent increase in the state sales tax, with part of the money being used for property tax relief. Do you support or oppose this sales tax increase to help lower property taxes?

                        May 30  Mar 28
                        2007    2007


Support 56 54 Oppose 39 40 DK/NA 5 6