Missourians appear ready to increase the tax on cigarettes and to
remove state control of the St. Louis Police Department, according
to a new statewide poll.
The tobacco tax hike was favored by 52 percent and opposed by 40
percent of 625 likely voters in a statewide telephone survey
conducted Tuesday through Thursday for the Post-Dispatch, News 4 and
the Kansas City Star. Eight percent were undecided.
The police proposition, a state law change, won 50 percent
support statewide and was opposed by 28 percent. A relatively large
number of respondents, 22 percent, were noncommital.
The poll, by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., also showed
big majorities in favor of an anti-Obamacare proposition on health
insurance exchanges and against a change in the way some judges are
The health proposition, barring the governor from setting up the
insurance exchanges unless authorized by the Legislature or in an
election, was favored, 57-25 percent, with 18 percent undecided.
The judicial measure, which would affect the selection of future
Supreme Court and state Court of Appeals judges, was opposed, 56-21
percent. But nearly one in four respondents, 23 percent, remained
For each question, the margin for error is plus or minus 4
The cigarette tax plan, Proposition B, was backed in the St.
Louis and Kansas City metro areas and outstate Missouri.
The measure, placed on the ballot by an initiative petition drive
funded largely by the American Cancer Society, is expected to
generate at least $283 million for public schools and smoking
A key component is hiking the state's 17-cent tax on a pack of
cigarettes to 90 cents.
One respondent - Bill Heine, 56, of south St. Louis County - said
he supports the plan because it would channel more money to schools
without raising taxes generally.
"To put it bluntly, my family doesn't smoke," said Heine, a
livestock consultant and political independent. "If it can improve
schools, let (smokers) pay more."
The extra school money has been an emphasis of a television ad
campaign launched by supporters.
Christy Thompson, 45, of Ladue, said her skepticism about that
pledge helps explain her opposition to the increase.
"I'm not really convinced the funds are going to go where they're
intended," said Thompson, a lawyer and a Republican. …