WSB/Landmark poll: Income tax offset could reduce opposition to gas tax hike

Earlier this month, an AJC poll found that nearly 60 percent of Georgians believe improving transportation is important, and nearly 70 percent support new bus and rail lines.

Yet only 36 percent said they were willing to pay higher taxes to fund any kind of transportation project.

Last night, Channel 2 Action News sprung a Landmark Communications poll that found much the same thing -- but also found that some bargaining would reduce opposition. You can find the crosstabs here.

The WSB/Landmark survey first asked about an increase in the state gas tax: “Generally speaking, would you support or oppose an increase in the gas tax to fund maintenance of existing roads and bridges?”

Sixty-one percent opposed it, with opposition rising to 66 percent among Republicans.

Question No. 2 probed whether a sales tax would be digested more easily: “Generally speaking, would you support or oppose an increase of one cent in the statewide sales tax to fund maintenance of existing roads and bridges?”

Opposition dropped to 52 percent – 56 percent among Republicans.

Question No. 3 offered this bargain: “Generally speaking, if an increase in the gas tax was offset by a reduction in the income tax rate, would you support or oppose?”

Finally, a plurality of support was won. Thirty-five percent said they would support it, 32 percent opposed, and 33 percent were undecided. (In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley proposed this exact swap last night in her state-of-the-state speech.)

Question No. 4 attempted to measure support for transit: “Generally speaking, should all of the funds be spent on road improvements, or should some of these funds be spent on mass transit improvements as well?”

The question produced a harsh divide. Forty-one percent supported some spending on mass transit, but 37 percent fell into the roads-only category. The roads-only crowd rises sharply to more than 50 percent among Republicans.

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About the Author

Jim Galloway
Jim Galloway
Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.