Poll shows slim margin of approval for Massachusetts tax questions

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May 26, 2010

BOSTON, Massachusetts: A new poll conducted by Suffolk University and WHDH Channel 7 showed a slim margin of approval of the two tax measures that have been proposed for the November statewide ballot. Among the 500 voters that were surveyed, 48 percent approved the measure retract an extension of the sales tax to alcohol, and 49 percent supported a measure that would roll back the state's sales tax. According to the results of the poll, which were released on May 25, 2010, the margin of error was 4.4. The poll was conducted between May 20-23.[1]

A previous statewide survey, also conducted by Suffolk University and News 7 in Massachusetts, showed close races between the two tax questions as well. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.4 percent. The results of that poll showed that 49 percent supported the sales tax rollback, and 54 percent supported the alcohol tax extension repeal.[2]

Both measures still have a way to go before making the ballot. Massachusetts' law concerning citizen initiative ballot measures calls for multiple steps to be taken to ensure ballot access. Supporters must have collected a minimum of 66,593 valid signatures from registered voters by December 2, 2009; except for veto referenda, where they must have collected 33,297 signatures. The measure then had to be reviewed by Legislature. Massachusetts Legislature had until the May 4, 2010 deadline to either make the initiative a law, or send it back to petition organizers to collect more signatures. Petition organizers now must obtain signatures from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election, and those signatures must be submitted to the Secretary of State's office before or on July 7, 2010. The 1/2 of 1% signatures that must be obtained totals out to 11,099 signatures.[3]

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