Maine voters feel strongly that legislators should honor referendum results

Maine voters feel strongly that legislators should honor referendum results

A new survey shows that large majorities of Mainers want the legislature to leave laws recently passed by referendum alone. 79% agreed that “the Maine legislature should respect the outcome of referendums and should wait at least one year before making major changes to laws passed by voters.”

The survey of 646 Maine voters who cast ballots in the November, 2016 election was conducted by phone and online from May 4th through 6th by the Maine People’s Resource Center and has a sample margin of error of ±3.9%, 95 times out of 100.

Despite claims to the contrary by Governor Paul LePage and others, 89% of respondents said they had a “good understanding” of the five referendum questions that they voted on in November.

Dramatically high levels of support for non-interference by the legislature were seen even when voters were asked specifically about the minimum wage increase referendum (74%) and the referendum to raise taxes on income over $200,000 to increase funding for local schools (73%). Both voter-approved laws have come under fire in the legislature, with Governor Paul LePage and Republican lawmakers attempting to roll them back.

Support for respecting the outcome of the referendums was strong across all demographic groups, with 84% of Democrats, 68% of Republicans and 81% of independents opposed to changing the voter-approved laws for at least one year.

64% of voters who described themselves as “very conservative” said they opposed modifying the citizen-initiated laws and 72% of respondents with household incomes over $100,000 a year said they opposed any immediate changes to the new school funding and upper-income tax increase law.

On Monday, Democratic leaders in the Maine Senate released a statement rejecting Republican attempts to undo the taxation and school funding referendum, criticizing Republicans for being “so fixated on their massive giveaway to the state’s highest earners that they would not only ignore the voters of Maine, but threaten a state shutdown that would hurt Maine’s economy, its seniors and its families.”

“The law is on our side. The voters are on our side. And Senate Democrats will not be bullied or threatened into caving in on a bad deal for Mainers by irresponsible threats of a government shutdown,” said Minority Leader Troy Jackson and Assistant Minority Leader Nate Libby.

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