I haven’t spoken much lately about a faulty Deseret News poll. Not because they haven’t had them, but for the most part they were uninteresting. Oh, they have gotten slightly better, but still they are skewed.
However, the lastest poll results about Utahns wanting higher taxes is another example of their bias. Look closely at the poll question to the right. What do you see wrong with this picture?
First, look at the question. Is this not a leading question? It is so leading that it is proceeded by 3 sentences. Of course this is only to keep the uneducated public informed before they answer such an important question. They wouldn’t be trying to influence poll takers votes, that would be unethical.
But they go further than that. Look at the exact question: “Would you be willing to pay higher taxes to reduce or avoid further cuts in education, health and human services…?” They might as well be asking people, “do you want to be a bad person and not fund education and health and human services?”
What would happen if they asked the question like this: “Gov. Gary Herbert has proposed a balanced state budget with no tax increases. Utah has one of the highest tax burdens of all 50 states. In past years, the state has succeeded in managing the state without tax increases. Would you be willing to pay higher taxes in order to reduce the burden on Utah citizens?”
If you were to ask this question, the response would be a resounding “Don’t raise my taxes.” People would be in favor of not adding additional taxes. People would support Gov. Herbert.
In addition to the biasing question, there is one other little item that the Deseret News fails to draw your attention to. It’s that pesky little “+/- 5 percent,” or the margin of error, found that the bottom of the graphic. This +/-5 percent can be added to the “definitely willing” group and the “probably willing” group. So, this statistic means that their is a high probability that 43-63% of Utahns’ probably support a tax increase. If the real statistic sits between 43 or 49 percent, then most Utahn’s are against a tax increase. Again, I have to point out that this is based on an already biased question.
Despite these problems with the survey, there is some interesting results in this survey, and it is really telling to me about how many Utahns really support a tax increase. Take a look at the second graphic provided by the Deseret News.
What kind of tax increase do Utahns support?
That’s right, they support a tobacco tax and an alcohol tax. So, what percentage of the people taking this survey do you think smoke and drink? Well, I would guess that less then 50% are regular consumers of such products.
So simply put, according to these two survey results, Utahns support a tax increase as long as they don’t have to pay it. Tax someone else, but don’t tax me.
Do Utahns want a tax increase? No. This poll doesn’t prove that. In fact, I think it is an excellent proof to the contrary.
I support Gov. Herbert and any of the legislators who are going to work extra hard to avoid a tax increase this year. It is the right thing to do.