According to the newly released Public Policy Institute poll, Governor Jerry Brown’s tax increase proposal has a chance for success but is no sure bet. The poll shows support from 60% of likely voters, a mark considered a minimum starting point for a successful initiative. Ballot measures usually face a fall-off in support as the proposals are examined more closely by voters and attacked by opponents.

While this initial poll result is positive for the governor’s proposal there are many uncertainties and unanswered questions at this point to know how the measure will fair on Election Day.

The Brown tax measure is complicated by other potential tax measures on the ballot. PPIC did not test the other measures nor did the poll try to determine the effect those measures would have on the governor’s ballot initiative.

Another factor is voter turnout.

A close presidential race would produce one kind of voter turnout; a sure win for the president in California may result in a quite different turnout. Will public unions supporting the tax increase measure rally voters to defeat the initiative designed to cut off union and corporate political donations on the same ballot and vote for the tax increase at the same time?

What will the opposition campaign look like? The governor has started his fundraising for the ballot measure. Will there be money to fight the governor’s tax increases that can even somewhat match the money that the special interests will put up to support the tax increase?

Other issues besides taxes could play a role in the final outcome of the tax measure. The PPIC poll revealed great support for pension reform. 83% see pensions as a problem. If November comes with no pension reform will the people be less inclined to send money to Sacramento when politicians refuse to make necessary reforms? Governor Brown recognized this problem when he addressed a joint committee of the legislature dealing with pensions. He advised the legislators to address pension reform if they want the public to trust them with new tax dollars.

Of course, Brown is trying to take the spotlight off the legislature, which once again showed dismally in the PPIC poll, by directing the new tax money to schools.

Yet is that approach a winner?

Although statistically insignificant, it was interesting that while 60% of likely voters supported the tax increase, a follow up question indicating the money would go to the schools saw support among likely voters dropped to 58%.

So many questions and a long time until November before we get the answers.