Two tax proposals to raise money for road construction both trail among voters, and public sentiment has not changed dramatically for either measure since March.
The latest Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll, conducted on Thursday, July 19 among 585 likely Arkansas voters, shows major opposition to a hike in the severance tax and lagging support for a half-cent sales tax increase.
The survey asked:
Q: A proposal to raise the severance tax on natural gas to 7% may be on the November ballot. The money from the increase would be used for highway and road construction. If the election were held today, would you vote to raise the severance tax for this purpose?
12.5% Don’t Know
Q: In November, Arkansas voters will consider a proposal that would increase the sales tax by a half-cent in the state. The revenue generated from the tax would be used to pay for a four-lane highway system statewide. If the election were held today, would you vote to raise the sales tax for this purpose?
8.5% Don’t Know
Both of these tax proposals were tested in a March 26 Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll with similar results. In March, the severance tax measure trailed 28%-55%, while the half-cent tax proposal trailed 41.5%-50.5%.
“Just as was the case the last time we tested voters' opinions, a plurality opposes the notion going into the fall campaign,” said Dr. Jay Barth, pr
ofessor of political science at Hendrix College. Barth helped craft and analyze the poll.
“Although it remains a long shot to gain a place on the ballot, a stronger majority opposes a proposal to increase the state's severance tax with proceeds going to roads around the state; this result also mirrors our last look at voters' attitudes. On both measures, Democrats are decidedly more favorable than other Arkansans. And, interestingly, men favor both proposals more than do women,” Barth said.
The half-cent sales tax proposal was referred to voters for consideration by the Arkansas General Assembly.
The severance tax initiative has been spearheaded by former natural gas executive and two-time GOP gubernatorial nominee Sheffield Nelson with support from the Arkansas Municipal League.
Nelson plans to hold a press conference Tuesday morning to discuss his plans for the severance tax campaign, which fell more than 41,000 signatures short of its needed goal to gain ballot access.
This survey was conducted by Talk Business Research and Hendrix College on Thursday, July 19, 2012. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-4%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 585 likely Arkansas voters statewide.
All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business and Hendrix College.
For interviews, contact Talk Business executive editor Roby Brock by email at email@example.com.