With a potentially long ballot of initiatives facing voters next November, the Public Policy Institute of California asked voters the importance of some of the issues they would likely vote on. While voters could ultimately face as many as 20 initiatives, the pollsters focused on four measures: a state school bond, minimum wage, extending Prop 30 taxes and legalizing marijuana.

Schools still have a powerful pull on Californians’ purse strings. 63% of all adults said passing the bond was very important, 25% said it was important. On increasing the minimum wage, 57% said it was very important, 23% said it was important. The Prop 30 extension was considered very important by 36% of the respondents, while 38% said it was important. Legalizing marijuana was tabbed as very important by 28% of those asked while 21% said it was important.

What do these figures tell us? Not much.

There was no depth to the questions. The size of the school bond — $9 billion – was not part of the question. No dollar figures were attached to what the minimum wage is now and what it would be raised to. The Prop 30 extension gave no length to the extension.

Obviously, the pollsters were testing general concepts. Yet, a year from the election with no arguments either for or against these measures, there is not much that can be gleaned about public attitudes.

The poll did have another question on Proposition 30. Yet, here, too, a complete picture was not presented. Voters were informed that Prop 30 was passed in 2012, raised income taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and raised the sales tax a quarter cent for four years. The question asked was, should the Prop 30 taxes be extended when they expire in 2018?

No length of extension was mentioned here, either. Further, of the two initiatives filed so far to extend Prop 30 neither would continue the sales tax. One measure would extend the Prop 30 taxes for 12 years, the other would make the income tax increase permanent while adding a new upper tax bracket. None of this was mentioned to voters who supported the extension idea 54% to 38%.

In related questions the pollsters wanted to know if voters were willing to pay higher taxes and have the state government provide more services or reduce both taxes and services. Voters were split. All adults by 48% to 45% wanted higher taxes and more services. However, flip the numbers when likely voters responded: 45% to 48%, higher taxes and more services receiving the smaller number.

But this question and the Prop 30 question is mixing apples and oranges because a Prop 30 extension would only hit upper income taxpayers and many people answering the question would not be making the choice of paying more taxes themselves.

Other questions attempting to take the temperature of voters at this stage on the tax issue found that 50% of likely voters said the budget situation in California—the balance between spending and revenues—was a big problem. 35% said it was somewhat of a problem. These numbers are somewhat more optimistic than when the question was asked a year ago and well below the consternation voters expressed over the budget during the budget crisis of 2010.

However, there were some interesting items to note in this question. Those most satisfied with the budget situation were Democrats. 74% of Republicans, 48% of Independents and 43% of Democrats saw the budget as a big problem. Pollsters pointed out that in the Democratic voter rich San Francisco Bay Area just 36% found the budget situation a big problem.

If the majority party voters are relatively satisfied with the budget situation will tax extensions be harder to pass?