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North Bay Leadership Council’s Poll on SMART Tax Renewal Shows 69% Voter Support


POLL: 69% OF SONOMA AND MARIN COUNTY VOTERS SUPPORT A 30-YEAR EXTENSION OF THE SONOMA-MARIN AREA RAIL TRANSIT DISTRICT (SMART)

¼ CENT, VOTER-APPROVED, SALES TAX


Data also shows SMART has a very positive image overall and is most popular among its riders


PETALUMA – Nearly 7 in 10 voters in Sonoma and Marin Counties support extending SMART’s 1/4 cent sales tax for an additional 30 years, according to a North Bay Leadership Council poll released today.


By a 69% to 21% margin, Sonoma and Marin County residents both registered and likely to vote in next year’s March primary election say they would support a ballot measure extending the SMART ¼ cent sales tax an additional 30 years. Democrats (58% of poll respondents) overwhelmingly support the extension 77% to 15%, while Republicans (19% of respondents) support it 60% to 30%, and Independents (17% of respondents) back it 54% to 28%.


“It doesn’t matter what sub-group of the electorate you look at, voters across-the-board support the 30-year ¼ cent sales tax extension for SMART,” said North Bay Leadership Council’s President and CEO Cynthia Murray. “Voters know the SMART train is an intelligent green transportation alternative that has reduced greenhouse gas emissions, taken cars off of Highway 101, and is a valuable public asset that should continue to be taken care of and invested in.”


The poll shows SMART enjoying high name recognition and favorability. SMART’s total name identification among all voters is 88%; with a favorable/unfavorable rating of 59% to 15%. SMART is most popular among its riders: 88% of riders rate SMART favorably, 90% say they are satisfied using the train, 60% give SMART an excellent or above average job rating; and by an 87% to 8% margin support the 30-year extension of the ¼ cent sales tax.


“Voters who know SMART best, and ride the train, like SMART best,” said Murray.

Over the past two years SMART trains have carried 1.4 million passengers, over 5,000 who require wheelchair access, and 133,000 bicycles. If the existing sales tax is renewed, without increasing the rate, it would generate $40 million annually, allow SMART to restructure its construction debt saving taxpayers $12 million a year, and fully-fund rail operations from Larkspur to Windsor for 30 years.


This poll was fielded September 5-10, 2019 by The Wickers Group LLC among 500 residents of Sonoma County and Marin County both registered and considered likely to vote in next year’s March primary election. At .95 confidence level this data carries a margin of error of +/- 4.35%. A 52% female/48% male quota was enforced for this study.

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