Field Poll Finds Early Support for Budget Initiatives on Ballot
Despite reporting dissatisfaction with the state budget, likely voters in the May special election support six budget propositions, including two health care measures, according to a Field Poll survey released today, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/2).
Health Care Ballot Measures
Proposition 1E would shift $226.7 million from mental health care programs that Proposition 63 funds to the existing Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program for low-income children for two years.
Proposition 1D would temporarily shift $608 million from First 5 programs to fund services for children, including programs for foster children and kids with developmental disabilities. First 5 was created in 1998 when voters approved Proposition 10 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund early childhood health care and education programs.
The measures would complete the budget Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed last month that uses tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to cover California's projected budget deficit through fiscal year 2009-2010.
Rejection of any of the ballot proposals will force the governor and state lawmakers to restart budget negotiations (California Healthline, 2/23).
Field Poll Details
The Field Poll surveyed 761 registered voters in California, including 343 who are considered likely to vote in the May special election. The overall group had a sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, and the group of likely voters had a sampling error of plus or minus 5.4 percentage points.
The survey was conducted between Feb. 20 and March 1, immediately after Schwarzenegger signed the budget into law (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/2).
Pollsters used the Legislature's descriptions of the ballot measures (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 3/2).
Field Poll Findings
The Field Poll found that support for the ballot initiatives ranged from 47% for a measure that would allow the state to borrow against future state lottery sales to 57% for a measure that would limit government spending.
According to the field poll, the state's likely voters in the May election back the measures at different degrees.
Still, many California voters -- ranging from 10% to 22% for each measure --Â are undecided about the propositions, according to the survey.
Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, said overwhelming dissatisfaction with the state budget is not surprising given that it includes significant cuts to programs and increases taxes. However, he adds that what is surprising is voters are "willing to go along with the budget deal when it comes to the propositions."
Jan Coupal, president of Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, said the spending cap measure is deceptive because its official summary does not disclose that it would extend temporary tax increases for two additional years.
Anthony Wright of Health Access California, an advocacy group for the poor and elderly, added that the measure would limit important health care services for Californians in need (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/2).
On Monday, the two groups filed a lawsuit alleging that the ballot initiative title and summary of Proposition 1A is "false and misleading" (Sacramento Bee, 3/2).
Results of the Field Poll are available online (.pdf).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.