Likely Voters Favor Propositions 78 and 79, Split on 73, Field Poll Says
Voter support for both Nov. 8 statewide ballot initiatives dealing with prescription drug discounts -- Propositions 78 and 79 -- exceeds opposition, but neither measure currently has the majority support needed for approval, according to a Field Poll released Tuesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. In addition, support for Proposition 73, a parental-notification abortion measure, among respondents is equal to opposition for the measure.
From Aug. 19-29, Field Poll interviewed 325 likely voters. The poll results have an error rate of plus or minus 5.8 percentage points (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/6).
About 49% of respondents said they supported Proposition 78 -- down from 57% in June -- and 31% said they opposed it (Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/6). Proposition 78 would establish a voluntary prescription drug discount program for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. The measure is supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (California Healthline, 8/24).
Proposition 79, a competing ballot measure supported by consumer groups and unions, was backed by about 42% of likely voters in the poll and opposed by 34% (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/6). Proposition 79 would establish a mandatory prescription drug discount program for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level.
Pharmaceutical companies would have to participate in the program or face exclusion from the Medi-Cal formulary in some cases. Under Proposition 79, people could sue a pharmaceutical company if they believe it is participating in illegal pricing practices. Health Access California and a coalition of labor groups support the measure (California Healthline, 8/24).
The poll found that 13% of respondents knew that major drug companies supported Proposition 78 and that 33% believed pharmaceutical companies opposed the measure. About 21% of respondents knew that consumer groups and unions supported Proposition 79, and 13% believed that those groups opposed the measure (Hecht, Sacramento Bee, 9/6).
When respondents were told that drug companies supported Proposition 78, 44% said that information made them less likely to vote for the measure and 19% said they were more likely to vote for it. When respondents were informed that unions and consumer groups support Proposition 79, 40% said they were more likely to support it, while 24% said that information made them less likely to vote for it (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/6).
Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said, "There is clear confusion on Prop. 78 as to who is backing it." He added, "As we get around to the election, voters will know which side the pharmaceutical companies will be on, and that could have a negative effect" for Proposition 78.
Respondents are evenly split at 45% for Proposition 73, with 10% undecided (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/6). Proposition 73 would amend the state constitution to require health care providers to notify parents or guardians 48 hours before they perform an abortion on an unmarried minor (California Healthline, 8/12).
Sixty-two percent of Democrats oppose Proposition 73, while 61% of Republicans support the measure (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/6).
DiCamillo said, "People feel very strongly about this initiative," adding, "It may come down to who turns out on election day" (Sacramento Bee, 9/6).
The Field Poll is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the report.
Additional information about Propositions 73, 78 and 79 is available online.