News Column

Poll Shows Opposition Growing to Prop. 32

Nov. 2, 2012

Jon Ortiz

Opposition to a controversial campaign finance ballot measure has grown over the last six weeks and now outnumbers support by 16 percentage points, according to a new Field Poll.

Of the likely voters surveyed last month, 50 percent said they'll vote no on Proposition 32, up six points from September. On the other side, 34 percent intend to vote yes, compared with 38 percent a month earlier. The other 16 percent remain undecided.

The gap between yes voters and no voters has more than doubled to 16 percentage points since September. Such trends tend to strengthen in the final days of an election cycle, said poll director Mark DiCamillo.

"Odds are that this will be defeated," he said.

Proposition 32 would forbid unions and corporations from giving directly to political candidates or candidate-controlled committees.

Either group could still contribute unlimited sums to independent expenditure campaigns, but unions would have to scramble for funds because Proposition 32 also would ban using payroll-deducted money for political activities.

Unions' sole source of political cash comes from members' paycheck-deducted dues. Corporations tap executives for contributions or use company resources.

Field numbers show anti-Proposition 32 sentiment is strongest among Democrats and voters in union households, but it also ripples into nearly every part of the state -- including the conservative Central Valley -- and every major demographic group.

Republicans buck the trend: 54 percent favor the measure, 32 percent oppose it and 14 percent are undecided.

Organized labor has raised nearly $66 million to defeat the measure, according to reports filed with the state.

Proposition 32's biggest supporters have given $54 million to dual-purpose committees that also oppose Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30. About $35 million came from Stanford physicist and Republican activist Charles Munger Jr. Nonprofits based in Arizona and Iowa contributed $11 million and $4 million respectively. The Yes on 32 campaign itself took in $4.3 million.

Elk Grove resident Michael Keesling is one of the Republicans who told pollsters he favors Proposition 32.

"They've fulfilled their purpose in the world and should be abolished," he said during a Thursday telephone interview. "Unions today leverage the workers and beat up the companies. ... (They do) the same thing with government. ... "

On the other side, union TV ads and mailers have made plenty of sense to registered Democrat Ima Fillis. The Stockton resident said Proposition 32 is a special-interest ploy to unleash the influence of business interests and the wealthy at the expense of working people.

"We've had enough corruption in this country," said the 69-year-old retired hospital custodian and former SEIU member. "The union says vote no. So does the Democratic Party. I do, too."

Source: (c)2012 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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