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Poll: Seattle favors income tax, rezoning, but not youth jail

caption: A view of Seattle's future: Income tax and apartment construction?
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A view of Seattle's future: Income tax and apartment construction?
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A new poll shows the majority of Seattle residents would support a tax on the wealthy. That's one revelation in an exclusive KUOW/KING Survey USA poll.

Seattle officials have proposed an income tax on the highest earners. Sixty-six percent of people polled said they would support that tax. Respondents under 50 years old were more likely to support the tax than those over 50.

Read the full poll results here.

One other topics, the vast majority of people said Seattle has too little affordable housing and that homelessness is a major problem or crisis. Respondents ranked what they think Seattle's next mayor should do first to help the homeless. The top answers: raise taxes and have more sanctioned tent and RV camps.

People were split on the proposed King County juvenile detention center, with a slim majority saying it should not be built at all. Black respondents were more likely to oppose the project than white, Hispanic, and Asian respondents.

On the King County/Seattle plan to open safe injection sites for drug users, a little over half of the respondents said the sites would do more good than harm.

Highlights from the KUOW/KING Survey USA Poll:

  • Income tax on high earners: 66 percent supported, 23 percent opposed, 12 percent were unsure.
  • Rezoning single-family neighborhoods to multi-family: 48 percent supported, 29 percent opposed, 22 percent weren’t sure.
  • Sugary drinks tax: Respondents were split. 31 percent in favor of the tax no matter how the revenue was used, 31 percent opposed, 38 percent said it depended on how revenue would be used.
  • Juvenile detention center: 29 percent said don’t build it at all, 23 percent said build it as planned, and 27 percent said build it but not in the Central District.
  • Homelessness: 86 percent described it as a major problem or crisis.
  • Which Seattle's next mayor should do first to address homelessness: 30 percent said raise taxes, 24 percent said more sanctioned camps, 15 percent said break up illegal camping, and 10 percent want the next mayor to reduce services for homeless.

The margin of error for the responses ranged from plus or minus 2.8-3.3 percentage points.

SurveyUSA interviewed 900 city of Seattle adults 06/06/17 through 06/18/17. Of the adults, 800 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, SurveyUSA identified 503 who were most likely to vote in the 08/01/17 primary. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (39 percent of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in he recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (61 percent of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on the display of their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.

Editor's note: KUOW and KING are joining with Geekwire and Seattle CityClub to host a mayoral debate July 17. The poll's findings will be one factor in determining which candidates are invited to attend the debate. The event will have a live audience at Impact Hub Seattle and will be broadcast live on KUOW and KING and across the social media streams of the partner organizations.

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