Indications are that Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food, is on track to be approved by the voters of California this November. The initiative currently holds a large lead in a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. From the LA Times:
With less than six weeks until election day, Proposition 37 is supported by 61% of registered voters and opposed by 25%, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. An additional 14% were undecided or refused to answer.
The poll showed broad support among voter groups, but the interviews took place before Tuesday’s start of a major television advertising blitz by opponents aimed at changing voters’ minds on the issue.
So far, the opposition campaign has raised more than $32.5 million, collected mostly from businesses affected by the measure.
The negative ad blitz could reduce support, but it currently holds such a large lead that it will be an uphill battle for the opposition to defeat it in what little time remains. While there are technically 40 days until the election, roughly half of voters in the state will have cast there ballot well before November 6th. This should be a real test if big corporate campaign spending can really move opinions on an issue.
This initiative is one of the few statewide ballot measures this November that could have national ramifications. If this initiative is approved, it may not be financially viable for companies to produce both national and California-specific packaging. It could indirectly force many food companies to label the presence of GM ingredients across the country. At the very least, if this initiative wins it could encourage other states to follow suit.