In two separate reports feeding off the same research, Fosters.com and the New Hampshire Business Review lead with headlines declaring support for a gas tax increase in New Hampshire. “UNH research: NH residents support gas tax hike.”
But do they? Nope. In fact, according to the cited report, a majority oppose them.
The NHBR article reports that “more than 60 percent say they would support a 10-cent increase in the state gas tax if it were needed to maintain the state’s highways and bridges.” Fosters does the same. But that’s incorrect. Sixty-one percent of one-fifth of the respondents to the survey support a ten-cent tax.
The Carsey Report explains the methodology that both NHBR and Fosters overlooked.
The amount of gas tax specified in this question was varied at random across different interviews. About one-fifth (roughly 300) of the respondents were asked if they would support 5 cents per gallon, another 300 were asked about 10 cents per gallon, and so forth through 20, 30, or 40 cents per gallon.
Sixty-percent of one-fifth supported a five-cent hike, while smaller percentages supported the larger increases.
So the reality, and in stark contrast to the headlines, is that a majority of the New Hampshire residents surveyed prefer some other means of funding road and bridge work.
According to Carsey, only 27% of all respondents supported gas taxes as a means to finance infrastructure improvements. The most significant majority, 32%, preferred tolls, with 22% favoring some other method than those suggested.
In all, 73% preferred something different to raising the gas tax.
So the UNH Study does not say New Hampshire residents support a gas tax increase. It means some do, but most don’t.