New Poll: New Mexicans want legislature to tax wealthy, corps., cigarettes – not cut education, Medicaid or public safety

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New polling by ProgressNowNM and Public Policy Polling show that a large majority of New Mexicans now disapprove of the job Susana Martinez is doing as governor — and an even larger number oppose Republican plans to oppose common-sense revenue enhancements to balance the budget.

At the request of ProgressNowNM, Public Policy Polling (PPP) conducted a survey of 881 New Mexico voters (voted in 2016 elections) using a combination of live and online surveys from Thursday February 23 – Saturday February 26, 2017.

Specific Proposals to Cut Budget Areas

  • 63% of 2016 voters oppose cuts to Medicaid to balance the budget. Democrats most strongly hold this view (74% of Democrats oppose cuts) – but independent voters show a strong preference for opposing cuts: 65% oppose.

  • 63% of 2016 voters oppose more cuts to public schools – with almost half of 2016 voters, 47%, strongly opposing this proposal (largest “strong oppose” number of any proposal tested). Democrats are particularly opposed: 71% against.  Again, independent voters track with Democrats here (67% of independents line up with Democrats against this) over Republicans (only 31% of independents line up with Republicans, 47% of whom support this).

  • 72% of 2016 voters oppose cutting police and firefighters in the budget. (45% strongly oppose). Voters of all parties oppose this almost equally (70% D oppose, 77% R oppose, 72% I oppose).

  • Voters are evenly split on proposals to cut higher education. Just 2% of voters are undecided, while 49% equally support and oppose cuts here. Independent voters split almost evenly here (47% for, 51% against), while Republican support (66%) is higher than Democratic support (40%).


Cuts vs. Revenue

After hearing several budget cut and revenue enhancement proposals, we also asked 2016 voters how they would balance the state budget in a series of head-to-head cuts vs. revenue proposals.

For example, “Next, I’m going to ask you to assume the role of a state legislator in deciding how to best close the budget shortfall. I will give you two options for addressing the shortfall, and then ask you, in your role as a state legislator, which option you would most likely vote for. Here’s the first set of options for closing the budget shortfall: Reduce programs and access for prekindergarten students OR reduce tax breaks for big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

  • 66% of 2016 voters would vote to delay corporate income tax cuts in order to avoid cuts to pre-k programs. Here independent voters track with Democrats by a wide margin. 71% of Democrats and 66% of independents support this (as do 60% of Republicans).
  • Asked if legislators should cut higher education funding or increase taxes for the wealthiest earners, 65% supported increasing taxes on the very wealthy. Just 24% supported cuts to higher education (the most popular cut option on the table).  Here again, Independents strongly mirror Democrats: 75% of both support taxes over cuts.
  • 2016 voters also prefer corporate tax cut delays to cuts to public education. 61% of Democrats and 71% of independents support this plan, compared to just 24% of Republicans. Overall, 62% of 2016 voters support protecting education over tax cuts for corporations.
  • Not surprisingly, 87% of voters support taxing cigarettes and tobacco products over cutting education. 90% of Democrats, 87% of independents and 82% of Republicans would vote this way if they were legislators.


Full poll results: