Governor Jerry Brown’s hope of clearing the field of all other tax increase measures except his own ran into trouble with the release of the newest Public Policy Institute (PPIC) poll. The poll indicates that proposals that simply tax the rich may fair better than Brown’s plan of income and sales tax increases giving proponents of the tax the rich proposals incentive to carry on.

While the PPIC poll did show Brown’s overall plan scored a 68%-31% edge amongst likely voters, breaking down the proposal showed a glaring weakness. Voters do not like the idea of raising the sales tax. Brown proposes raising the income tax on those earning more than $250,000 and raising the sales tax a half-cent. The idea of raising the sales tax was opposed by 64%.

Other proposals Brown wanted to move from the ballot only raise the income tax.

The idea of taxing the rich has strong support right now. Likely voters backed taxing the rich by 68%.

The California Federation of Teachers/Courage Campaign tax increase proposal raises income taxes on millionaires.  Civil Rights attorney Molly Munger’s initiative raises only income taxes, although it hits a wider range of income earners than the CFT plan.

The poll also revealed that sending money to schools enjoys strong support, something that all the major tax measures do.

The CFT/Courage Campaign leaders have argued all along that their plan has a better chance of passing. This poll will only solidify their stand and make it less likely that they will move aside.

Another hurdle for Brown and all the tax increase proponents: Likely voters seem skeptical that taxes are the best way to balance the budget. A combination of taxes and spending cuts to balance the budget was supported by 40% of the respondents while 41% said spending cuts alone should do the job.

That attitude could present problems once campaigns for and against tax measures are in full swing. In fact, these poll numbers may have little merit once campaigns are engaged providing more information to the voters.

A prime example of this is the question PPIC asked on the split roll property tax, an effort to raise property taxes on commercial property by reassessing business property annually removing it from Proposition 13 protections.

The poll asked if the respondents favored or opposed taxing commercial property at market value. The response was 60% favorable, 34% opposed. But there was no context to the question. In a campaign, consequences of raising taxes on business, like the potential of lost jobs, would be presented to the voters. Surely, voters hearing both sides of an argument would result in some change in the current poll numbers.

Educating voters is what campaigns are all about. As we have seen recently in the presidential primary states, polls numbers can turn around quickly.