Political Animal


November 02, 2012 3:02 PM Down To the Wire in California

By Ed Kilgore

Finally, California’s authoritative Field Poll is out with some final findings, and on the ballot initiative that will determine whether the state goes into another, and perhaps terminal, Fiery Budget Crisis (this time with large and immediate, not just slow but steady, impact on the battered public education system), it’s going right down to the wire.

Field finds Jerry Brown’s Prop 30 ahead 48/38, down slightly from a 51/36 margin in mid-September. Though the CW is that initiatives polling at under 50% don’t win, it’s close, there’s a significant undecided vote, and pro-30 ads are running pretty massively, at least where I live.

Calbuzz looks at Field’s internals and notes Prop 30 is only leading marginally among the low-income voters who would be most affected by impending budget cuts and least affected by the initiative’s high-end income tax increases (though they will be affected by a temporary quarter-cent sales tax hike).

With support levels for Prop 30 being pretty strongly correlated with support for Brown, his last-minute sales pitch (he’s featured in all the ads) will be critical.

Field also has late findings on two other hot-button initiatives. It confirms that the backers of Prop 32 have failed to get away with disguising an anti-union “paycheck protection” law as a generic anti-special-interest measure; it’s going down 34/50, with Republicans being the only sub-group favoring it. But support for Prop 34, which would replace the death penalty with a life-without-parole option, is actually gaining support. At 45/38, it remains a poor bet to win, but the trend lines are encouraging.

I’ll be poring over these and other West Coast election issues late Tuesday night PDT, when you East Coasters are either asleep or boning up on your understanding of provisional ballots and other nightmarish contingencies.

UPDATE: To commenter byomtov, who caught my original misspelling of “poring” as “pouring” in the last sentence, I have to say: the answer to your question depends on which stage of the coffee/beer cycle I am at in the wee hours of Election Night.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • byomtov on November 02, 2012 3:21 PM:

    Iíll be pouring over these and other West Coast election issues..

    What wil you be pouring over them? Coffee? Beer?

  • TCinLA on November 02, 2012 3:50 PM:

    I still find it totally ironic that Jerry Brown, the moron who created the problem to begin with in 1975, is the only guy the Democrats could find to solve the problem in 2012.

  • meady on November 02, 2012 4:16 PM:

    Kind of w/ @TCinLA in that CA does have a Dem problem on the Statewide and Federal level. Brown is aging along w/ Feinstein and Boxer. I hope we have more on the bench than Gavin Newsom and Cruz Bustmante in the coming years or else eventually Republicans will be able to buy some politicians in the very near future...

    Also, I think 30 and 34 will pass and I think 32 will fail.

  • Tigershark on November 02, 2012 4:21 PM:

    TC: I would say as a native Californian, Brown should not get all the blame. The Governor before him, name escapes me, some B Actor, Union boss/thug who went on to become President, left office with the ground work for Prop 13 in place.

    Massively increasing property tax bills, and no legislative solution. (And when people say this actor, oh I wish I could remember his name, balanced the budget, this is why. He also had open carry banned, but that is another story.)

  • Andy G on November 03, 2012 12:24 AM:

    WIll it help were it to be PST rather than PDT?