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Anti-Airport Measure Favored in Poll

With one week to go before the March 7 election, voters appear ready to pass a ballot measure aimed at blocking a commercial airport at El Toro, despite a campaign blitz by airport supporters who have tried to change their minds, a new poll shows.

Nearly three in five voters--58%--said they intend to vote yes on Measure F, which would require two-thirds of voters to approve any new airport projects, jails with at least 1,000 beds half a mile from homes, and hazardous waste landfills.

At the same time, more undecided voters now say they are opposed to the measure, but that number falls well short of what would be needed to topple Measure F, said Cheryl Katz of Baldassare & Associates, which conducted both polls for The Times.

If Measure F passes, it would require yet another vote on El Toro itself, unless the Board of Supervisors scrapped the airport plan altogether--an unlikely scenario, given its support among board members so far. Measure opponents also have pledged to challenge its passage in court, claiming its two-thirds requirement can be imposed only through a change in the state Constitution.

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The debate over El Toro mirrors airport fights elsewhere in Southern California as increased air travel demand mounts over the next two decades. If El Toro is scrapped, the pressure could build for expansions of John Wayne Airport and the Los Angeles and Ontario international airports.

Voters twice have supported the El Toro airport plan--in 1994 and 1996--but the mood has switched in recent months.


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