A first glance at the PPIC poll on education gives some hope to the governor for his proposed ballot measure. However, there are indications in the poll that the governor could be facing a rough road ahead to pass his initiative.

The poll shows likely voters supporting the governor’s income tax/sales tax increase plan 54% to 39%. At this stage of a campaign, when the signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot have not yet been filed, 54% support is not a solid number.

No opposition campaign has been established to fight the governor’s tax plan but there will be one. When that opposition steps up, the majority support will be severely tested.

Another finding in the poll is that while voters like a “tax the rich” idea to raise funds for schools (with 65% yes), they are not so hot on the notion of raising the sales tax. The governor’s proposal includes a quarter-cent sales tax increase. The poll found a sales tax increase was opposed, 46% Yes, 52% No.

The third indicator is more complicated but could play out over time. The poll shows that voters are concerned about schools. According to the poll, 72% of likely voters say the state budget situation hurt schools and 67% agree that the quality of education is a big problem.

The governor plays to that empathy. He says his plan is designed to direct new funding for schools. However, that position has been challenged.

The governor’s plan proposes to fund his realignment program with local governments as well as schools. Molly Munger, the Los Angeles activist attorney who is sponsoring a competing initiative, argues that the money from the governor’s initiative is not going to the schools. She has already started airing commercials to draw the distinction between her initiative and the governor’s plan. The commercial emphasizes money raised by here initiative goes directly to schools “Not to Sacramento.” (You can view the commercial here.)

If Munger’s campaign spends a lot of resources pointing out that the governor’s proposal does not benefit the schools as much as the governor insists it does, the voters represented by the PPIC could well have second thoughts come election time.