Field Poll Releases Survey Results on Health-Related Ballot Measures
Support for ballot measures to fund human stem cell research and children's hospitals is increasing, while opposition to a referendum on an employer-sponsored health coverage state law is increasing and polling results on two other health-related ballot measures remain "virtually unchanged" since late September, according to a Field Poll survey, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31).
The survey is based on interviews with 1,086 likely California voters from Oct. 21 to 27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points (Miller, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/31).
Support for Proposition 61 continues to expand, according to the survey (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31). The ballot measure would provide $750 million to pay for construction, expansion and equipment for children's hospitals. Including interest, the measure would cost about $1.5 billion over 30 years (California Healthline, 10/22).
Of respondents, 54% supported the initiative, compared with 29% who opposed it and 17% who were undecided. The results widen Proposition 61's support from a September poll that found 46% of likely voters favored the measure, 35% opposed it and 19% remained undecided.
The Field Poll survey found voter approval for Proposition 63 had changed little since late September (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31). The measure would increase taxes by 1% for residents earning more than $1 million a year to fund mental health services funding (California Healthline, 10/20).
According to the poll, 56% of likely voters favored the initiative, 31% opposed it and 13% were undecided (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31).
Support for Proposition 67 "struggles with only 37% voter approval," the Stockton Record reports (Assemi, Stockton Record, 10/31). The measure would impose a 3% surcharge on telephone bills to fund emergency departments, trauma centers and health clinics and pay for physician training and emergency medical equipment. The initiative would raise about $550 million annually for hospitals statewide (California Healthline, 10/20).
About 50% of respondents opposed the measure, 37% supported it and 13% were undecided. The results were similar to those found in a poll in late September (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31).
The margin of support for Proposition 71 widened from 3% in late September to 17% in the latest Field Poll survey (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/31). Under the measure, the state would issue bonds to raise an average of $295 million annually over a decade to promote stem cell 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 would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest (California Healthline, 10/20).
Of respondents, 54% favored Proposition 71, 37% opposed it and 9% remained undecided (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31). The initiative's "revival could reflect its endorsement two weeks ago by Gov. Schwarzenegger (R) despite opposition to the measure from President Bush," according to the Press-Enterprise (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/31).
Support for upholding SB 2 fell between September and October from 45% to 41%, and the number of likely voters expected to vote to repeal the law increased from 29% to 42%. About 17% of respondents were undecided (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 10/31).
Proposition 72 is a referendum on SB 2, a state law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, that will require some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage. Under the referendum, state residents can vote "yes" to uphold SB 2 or "no" to repeal it.
SB 2 will require employers with 200 or more employees to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into the state fund. Employers with 50 to 199 employees will have to provide health insurance only to workers by 2007.
Employers with fewer than 20 employees will not have to comply with the law, and the law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 workers unless the state provides them with tax credits to offset the cost of health coverage (California Healthline, 10/20).
"Right now, it's about even, but the movement is to the 'no' side," Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said. In May, 50% of likely voters said they favored the measure (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/31).
Additional information on propositions 61, 63, 67, 71 and 72 is available online.