Gov. John G. Rowland enjoys broad support for his proposed cigarette tax increase of 61 cents a pack, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The governor’s proposal to raise cigarette taxes to $1.11 a pack is backed by 73 percent of those surveyed in the Connecticut Poll by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut.

In contrast, an increase in general taxes received only 27 percent approval.

Cutting programs and services for the poor is endorsed by 13 percent of poll responders, and similarly small percentages back cuts in health and higher education programs.

But cutting unidentified services received 44 percent approval.

Ken Dautrich, director of the Connecticut Poll, said the survey’s results are not surprising.

“This isn’t much different from what a family does when faced with a shortfall,” he said. “It uses its vacation or Christmas club account before finding a new job or selling the car.”

Other deficit-cutting plans, such as using money from the tobacco settlement trust fund, is supported by 66 percent and tapping into the state’s Rainy Day Fund is endorsed by 59 percent.

The state faces a two year, $1 billion deficit.

Rowland says the deficit can be partially closed with spending cuts. He said the state also can use about $100 million from a stock settlement with Anthem Blue Cross, $100 million in cash reserves from several quasi-public state agencies and $41 million from the tobacco trust fund.

Spending cuts can be limited to less than 2 percent of next year’s $13.5 billion budget, the governor says.

The telephone survey polled 500 residents between Jan. 24 and Feb. 1. The sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

–Associated Press