The fate of California’s Proposition 37, which would require the labeling of food that contains genetically modified ingredients, could go either way. New polling confirms that there has been significant tightening in the past month. Only a month ago the initiative lead by a two-to-one margin in most polls, but now the yes side is up by just two point points. From the LA Times:
After a barrage of negative television advertisements financed by a $41-million opposition war chest, a USC Dornsife / Los Angeles Times poll released Thursday showed 44% of surveyed voters backing the initiative and 42% opposing it. A substantial slice of the electorate, 14%, remains undecided or unwilling to take a position.
The critical drumbeat of television advertising is having a big effect, voters said. The anti-Proposition 37 spots “made me start looking more into” the issue of genetically engineered plants, said Josie Prendez, 63, a retired school employee in Fresno. She said she concluded that farmers should not be hit with more regulations.
The initiative would not ban genetically modify food or restrict it. The initiative would simply require labeling so consumers could make an informed choice. It would leave it up to the market to decide if people wanted GMO food or not.
The sole reason this once popular initiative might not win approve is that the food, seed and chemical industries have gone all out to kill it. The opposition has been claiming it would significantly raise food prices even though GMO labeling requirements are already common in other countries.
The relevant industries have spent millions to keep costumers ignorant about what is in their food. Monsanto has spend over $7 million against Prop 37 and DuPont has spent almost $5 million. In addition, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kraft and Nestle all contributed over a million dollars each to the no campaign.