Statewide
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March 2, 2016
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Madison Grady

Poll: Oklahomans say use existing resources to fund teacher pay raise before increasing sales tax

This November, Oklahoma voters may vote on a state question to increase the state's sales tax rate by 22 percent in order to fund teacher pay increases and other educational funding. But, according to SoonerPoll's most recent Quarterly Poll, likely Oklahoma voters would like to first see the state government create savings by eliminating tax credits and subsidies for alternative energy production and other corporate tax credits and subsidies.

The poll found 54 percent of likely voting Oklahomans wanted to prioritize using existing resources to fund teacher pay raises before raising the sales tax.

In fact, among three options -- increase sales taxes, create savings by eliminating tax subsidies, or no answer -- increasing taxes finished dead last. The number of respondents who had no response to the question was actually higher than the number of respondents who favored increasing taxes.

While 24.2 percent didn't know or have an opinion, only 21.5 percent wanted to increase the state's sales tax. Prior polling has indicated support for the state sales tax increase, but respondents in those previous surveys were not asked whether the elimination of tax credits or other subsidies should occur first. Other recent polling has found Oklahomans opposed continuing tax subsidies for the wind industry, given the state government’s current $1.3 billion budget deficit.

[box] With regard to funding an increase in teacher pay, we should: [READ AND ROTATE]

1. Increase the state’s sales tax by 1 cent.21.52. Create savings in current state government spending by eliminating tax credits and subsidies for alternative energy production and other corporate credits and subsidies.54.33. Don't know/refused [DNR]24.2

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While 58 percent of Republicans wanted to create savings first, as opposed to increasing sales taxes, a plurality (47 percent) of Democrats were of the same mind. Independents were even more adamant at creating savings first with 62 percent. A majority of self-professed liberals, moderates and conservatives also wanted to create savings first, rather than increasing taxes,from 53 percent for liberals to 56 percent for conservatives.

"The Oklahoma voting public believes, particularly in budget deficit times, that first looking at how you are spending your money should be priority one before raising taxes," said Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll. "While legislators have been hesitant to do so in the past, perhaps this will be the year they listen to the advice of their constituents."

 

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

The scientific study was conducted from February 9-12, 2016 with 410 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a dual frame of both landline telephone and cell phones. The sample was weighted by age, congressional district and gender in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election.

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.84 percent and was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council Of Public Affairs.

This poll not only conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls but exceeds the standard disclosure with a Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

The poll's Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report can be viewed here. A beta version of the Weighting Table Report can be viewed here.

Madison Grady
About the Author

Madison Grady