Mark Dicamillo and Mervin Field, San Francisco Sentinel, February 4, 2008
Up until last week, most of the heavy political campaign messages appearing on TV in California have dealt with not the presidential election but the controversial ballot measures, Prop. 93 (Term Limits) and Props. 94-97 (Indian Gaming), that will also appear on tomorrow’s election ballot. These extensive advertising efforts have resulted in high voter awareness of the propositions, with about four out of five likely voters now professing to know something about each measure.
The latest Field Poll finds that as voter awareness has increased over the past two months opinions have changed. Voters are becoming increasingly negative about Prop. 93, the term limits reform initiative, while at the same time they have become more positive about Props. 94-97, the Indian gaming referendums.
In a survey completed in the closing days of the election campaign, 46% of likely voters now say they will be voting No on Prop. 93, while just 33% are intending to vote Yes. Another 21% are undecided about the term limits reform initiative. Last December Prop. 93 was leading by 50% to 32%, while a mid-January Field Poll found voters dividing evenly 39% Yes and 39% No.
Prop. 93 sub-group differences
By large margins, Republicans and non-partisans are increasingly lining up against Prop. 93. Opposition to Prop. 93 among Republican voters is now running two and one-half to one (56% No and 27% Yes). Non-partisans are also opposed but by a narrower 42% to 32% margin. Democrats are now about evenly divided, 37% Yes and 39% No.
The No side is leading in all the major population areas in the state, among both men and women, and among voters in all age categories.
Voters who describe themselves as strongly conservative are opposed two to one (57% to 28%). Moderate conservatives and moderates are also opposed, but by narrower twelve- to fifteen-point margins. Voters who describe themselves as strongly liberal are backing Prop. 93 by a 46% to 34% margin, although those who say they are moderately liberal are opposed 43% to 36%.
Voters who have already sent in their ballots or intend to vote by mail are opposing Prop. 93 by a wide 51% to 32% margin. Those intending to vote at their voting precincts on Election Day are also on the No side, but by a smaller 42% to 33% margin.