Advertisements for Health-Related Ballot Initiatives Increasing in Number, Cost
The Sacramento Bee on Tuesday examined how spending on advertisements related to measures on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot, including several health-related measures, is "on pace to surpass" record spending of $198 million in 1998, as special interests have placed thousands of ads on television and radio outlets (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 10/26). Spending on ads for campaigns for the five health-related ballot measures totaled about $15.1 million for about 9,000 television ads between Sept. 13 and Oct. 18. The campaigns for and against Proposition 72 have been among the "biggest spenders," accounting for $7.5 million of total advertising spending (CHCF-funded HealthVote 2004 release, 10/22).
Proposition 72 asks state residents to vote "yes" to uphold or "no" to repeal a state law (SB 2) that will require some employers to offer health insurance or pay into a fund to provide such insurance (California Healthline, 10/26).
Those urging voters to repeal SB 2 have sponsored 2,848 television ads and spent $3.6 million on ads. The campaign recommending that residents uphold the law has aired 1,567 ads at a cost of about $3.9 million.
The campaign in favor of Proposition 71 spent $7.5 million on 4,200 ads between Sept. 13 and Oct. 18 (HealthVote 2004 release, 10/22).
Proposition 71 would issue state bonds to raise an average of $295 million annually over a decade to promote research and provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure could cost a total of $6 billion including interest (California Healthline, 10/26).
Those opposed to Proposition 67, which would provide funding for emergency services, on Oct. 18 began airing 16 television ads on Los Angeles stations.
The campaign urging voters to vote "no" on Proposition 61, which would issue bonds to provide funding for children's hospitals, began an "ad blitz" Oct. 19 (CHCF-funded HealthVote 2004 release, 10/22).
According to the Bee, overall spending on political advertising in California has increased, although there are "few competitive [legislative] candidate races" and President Bush and Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) have concentrated their campaigns on "more competitive states." As a result, broadcast networks have had more air time available to promote ballot measures, which unlike candidate races, are not subject to limits on advertising rates.
Proposition campaign advertising can cost 25% to 50% more than advertising for candidate races, according to Democratic strategist Bill Carrick (Sacramento Bee, 10/27).
Additional information on Propositions 61, 67, 71 and 72 is available online.