Support for California governor's tax measure below 50 percent


SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Support among likelyCalifornia voters for Governor Jerry Brown's tax measure on theNovember ballot has dipped below 50 percent for the first timeas they learn more about it and advertising against it takes atoll, according to survey results released on Thursday.

The survey for the California Business Roundtable andPepperdine University's School of Public Policy found 49.5percent of likely voters supporting the measure, compared with57.5 percent who said they backed it when surveyed in lateSeptember.

The latest survey found 41.7 percent of likely votersopposing the measure and 8.8 percent unsure of how they willvote on it, compared with 35.3 percent who opposed it and 7.2percent who said they were uncertain in the previous survey forthe business group and school.

Advertising against the measure has weakened support for italong with increased awareness of its specifics, said JeffHarrelson, a partner with M4 Strategies, the firm that conductedthe online surveys.

"Voters are paying attention and they're seeing theadvertising, specifically the 'no' advertising, which was slowto get up and running," Harrelson said.

The measure, Proposition 30, would raise California's salestax along with personal income tax rates on the wealthy.

If voters reject the measure, the state government mayimpose spending cuts that would strike hard at educationprograms to maintain a balanced budget.

In addition to preventing cuts in the short term, themeasure would raise revenue to bolster the state's general fundin future years. The measure would raise about $6 billionannually.

Brown's measure faces competition from another tax measureadvanced by a wealthy Los Angeles civil rights attorney.

That measure, Proposition 38, would raise personal incometax rates on annual earnings on all but the poorest Californiansto raise money for school spending and early childhood programsand to repay state debt.

Opposition to Proposition 38 has increased since late lastmonth, according to the latest survey for the CaliforniaBusiness Roundtable and Pepperdine University's School of PublicPolicy.

The survey found 45.9 percent of likely voters opposing themeasure, up from 43.1 percent in late September. Support for themeasure is down, with 41.9 percent in favor compared with 44.9percent late last month. Just over 12 percent of voters areuncertain about the measure, little changed from late lastmonth.

(Reporting By Jim Christie; Editing by Richard Chang)

((jim.christie@thomsonreuters.com)(Tel: +1-415-677-2539))