Campaigns for, Against Measure To Fund Stem Cell Research Report Disparate Financial Resources
The campaign in favor of Proposition 71 -- a measure on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot that would issue state bonds to raise an average of $295 million annually over 10 years to promote stem cell research -- has reported more than $10.7 million in donations, compared with $75,000 raised by opponents of the measure, the Los Angeles Times reports (Garvey, Los Angeles Times, 8/31). The measure would 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 have said that with interest, the measure would cost a total of $6 billion (California Healthline, 8/25).
Fiona Hutton, a spokesperson for the Yes on 71 campaign, said her group would present its position on the measure this fall through a "very aggressive paid media campaign including television, radio and mail."
Proposition 71 opponents say their campaign will use news coverage, talk radio and other forums that do not rely on paid advertising.
Wayne Johnson, a consultant working on the Doctors, Patients and Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility campaign opposing Proposition 71, said, "This is one that's not going to be bought and paid for by the side that can buy the most paid TV ads."
According to the Times, Proposition 71 will "be among the most divisive and closely watched" of the measures on the Nov. 2 ballot, which includes four other health-related measures.
Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University, said, "Money can make a difference when people haven't been paying attention, but money doesn't always win." He added, "This is a great initiative to watch because California is so often on the cutting edge when it comes to social issues. If it could pass anywhere, this is as likely a place as any."
However, Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College and a former Republican Party strategist, said, "You have voters who may be uncomfortable with the whole question of stem cell research, and even if you don't get into that part of the debate, many people might say: 'This is a nice idea, but the state is already in the hole, and we just can't afford it'" (Los Angeles Times, 8/31).
The ballot title and summary for Proposition 71 is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the summary.