Likely Voters Favor Propositions 61, 63, 72, Oppose Proposition 67, Field Poll Says
Voter support for three health-related Nov. 2 statewide ballot initiatives -- Propositions 61, 63 and 72 -- exceeds opposition, but more voters oppose Proposition 67 than support the measure, according to a Field Poll survey released Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Hubbell, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12).
From Sept. 24-29, Field Poll interviewed 549 randomly selected likely voters in English and Spanish. The poll results have an error rate of 4.3 percentage points (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 10/12).
About 46% of respondents said they supported Proposition 61, 35% said they opposed it and 19% were undecided (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12). Proposition 61 is a $750 million initiative that would pay for construction, expansion and equipment for children's hospitals. Including interest, the program would cost about $1.5 billion over 30 years (California Healthline, 9/27).
Although support for Proposition 61 holds an 11% lead over opposition, the measure has lost ground among likely voters since August, when 47% favored it and 31% opposed it (Stockton Record, 10/12).
Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said voters might be concerned about other initiatives on the ballot, adding, "These are all worthy causes, but how much are voters willing to tolerate?" (Feder Ostrov , San Jose Mercury News, 10/12).
Proposition 63, which aims to finance an expansion of mental health services by increasing by 1% the state personal income tax on people whose annual incomes exceed $1 million to, "enjoyed the largest degree of support" among the ballot initiatives examined in the survey, the Chronicle reports. Of the likely voters surveyed, 57% favored the initiative, compared with 31% who opposed it and 12% who were undecided (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12).
The measure would raise an estimated $700 million annually to care for people with severe mental illnesses (California Healthline, 9/27). Poll results on Proposition 63 have changed "little" since August, when 59% of respondents supported the measure and 29% opposed it, the Record reports (Stockton Record, 10/12).
Proposition 63 supporters plan to spend $2.3 million on television advertisements. Opponents have reported that they have raised only $6,000 in donations, but some anti-tax groups may "lump opposition" efforts for Proposition 63 with those for "all of the measures that raise taxes" or place what they consider "onerous requirements" on businesses, the Los Angeles Times reports (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 10/12).
About 46% of respondents opposed Proposition 67, 37% supported it and 17% were undecided (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12). Proposition 67 would add a 3% surcharge to residential telephone bills to fund hospital emergency services and training. The initiative would generate an estimated $550 million annually to fund emergency department services (California Healthline, 9/27).
Polling numbers on the measure have remained virtually unchanged since August (Stockton Record, 10/12).
DiCamillo said that even though the surcharge is small, several voters might see it as a tax that would affect them, making them less likely to support it (Feder Ostrov , San Jose Mercury News, 10/12). He said, "A telephone surcharge affects people directly, while the rest are much more indirect."
According to the poll, 28% of those opposed to the measure said their phone bills currently are too high, and 20% said they paid too much in taxes (Fouhy, AP/Fresno Bee, 10/12).
Support for the employer-sponsored health care initiative remained "strong," with 45% in favor of the measure, 29% opposed and 26% undecided (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12). Proposition 72 allows state residents to vote "yes" to uphold or "no" to repeal 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 (California Healthline, 9/27).
During the August poll, respondents favored the measure 48% to 31%, with 21% undecided (Stockton Record, 10/12).
DiCamillo said, "Being 16 points ahead with a month to go is not a bad place to be when there's not a lot of movement" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12). He added, "The news is -- no change, even with the TV ads and a considerable amount of campaigning. That's the story and it's significant" (AP/Fresno Bee, 10/12).
The poll was conducted two weeks after restaurants and retailers opposing Proposition 72 launched television ads and prior to an ad campaign launched by unions and medical groups that support the measure (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 10/12).
Among voters who supported Proposition 72, 48% said it is "a step in the right direction and will expand insurance coverage," and 39% said they supported it because "[e]mployers should share in the cost of health care for their workers." Of those who opposed it, 33% said it would "increase the cost of doing business in the state and make business less competitive," and 31% said that providing health insurance "should remain voluntary."
Support was divided "clearly along party lines," the Record reports (Stockton Record, 10/12). Democrats favor Proposition 72 58% to 16%, and Republicans oppose it 50% to 28% (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/12).
The Field Poll is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the report.
Additional information on Propositions 61, 63, 67, and 72 is available online.