Voter support is declining for a June ballot initiative that would raise tobacco taxes by $1 per pack, according to a new Field Poll, the Sacramento Bee reports.
On Tuesday, California residents will vote on the measure (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 5/31).
Ballot Initiative Details
Proposition 29 was written by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.
Supporters of the initiative say the tax increase would generate about $600 million annually to fund research on smoking-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
They note that it also would produce $179 million each year for tobacco cessation, prevention and enforcement initiatives (California Healthline, 5/24).
Results of Field Poll
Although the measure was once supported by a wide majority of California residents, the new poll found that 50% of likely voters support Prop. 29, and 42% of likely voters oppose the ballot initiative.
The poll also found that:
- 75% of people who smoke said they are highly opposed to Prop. 29, while 17% of smokers said they support it; and
- 55% of people who have never smoked support the measure, while 36% of people who have never smoked oppose it.
According to the poll, former smokers are evenly divided on the measure.
Advertisements Against Prop. 29
According to Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo, one likely reason for the slip in support for Prop. 29 is a series of advertisements funded by tobacco companies that criticize the ballot initiative (Sacramento Bee, 5/31). The tobacco industry and its allies have contributed about $42.6 million toward a campaign to defeat Prop. 29. Meanwhile, supporters of the tax hike proposal, led by a national health coalition, have spent nearly $9 million to advocate for the ballot initiative (California Healthline, 5/25).
Separate Poll Finds Majority Support for Prop. 29
Meanwhile, a new poll by the University of Southern California's Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times found that 62% of likely voters said they support Prop. 29.
According to the poll, 33% of likely voters said they oppose the ballot initiative (York, Los Angeles Times, 5/30).