There are 11 measures qualified for the ballot in California, but new polling by the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University shows nine initiatives polling over 50 percent. Of those nine which have a decent chance of passing, the three most noteworthy initiatives have to do with the labeling of genetically modified food, reforming the state’s notorious three strikes law, and union political spending.
Proposition 37 – If approved, it would require food to be labeled if it contained ingredients that were genetically modified. While much of the first world has GMO labeling requirements, the United States does not. Given the sure size of the California market and the cost of making two different labels, this initiative could have an important spillover effect into the rest of the country. It could easily have the biggest national impact of all the measures in California. While a majority says they are leaning towards support, the margin is tight. It is polling at *64.9 percent yes to 23.9 percent no. Given the national implications, expect this to be an extremely heated battle.
Proposition 36 – This initiative would modestly reform the state’s three strikes law that has lead to extreme prison overcrowding and huge state government spending on incarceration. It would change the law so that a “third strike” would only result in a life sentence if it was a serious or violent crime. It is currently polling at 71.7 percent yes to 19.0 percent no.
Proposition 32 – The measure deals with how unions can spend money on political campaigns and would ban direct corporate and union contribution to candidates. The initiative is a seen as primarily a way to greatly weaken the political power of unions in the state. The poll found 60.0 percent yes and just 28.9 percent leaning no. Unions have some serious outreach work to do if they want to defeat this measure. Right now it even has majority support among Democrats.
*update – poll numbers corrected, accidentally transcribed from wrong column.