SACRAMENTO -- Support among likely voters has plummeted for Proposition 37, an initiative to require labels on foods with genetically engineered ingredients, a new poll shows.
Poll results released Thursday by the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and the California Business Roundtable show that 48.3% of respondents would vote yes for the measure on Nov. 6, while 40.2% would vote no.
That’s way down from a 66.9% to 22.3% margin from a similar poll two weeks ago.
The drop in support for the measure parallels the unleashing by opponents of a multimillion-dollar television advertising campaign, said Chris Condon of M4 strategies, which conducted the online survey of 830 likely voters from Oct. 7 to Oct. 10. The poll had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.
“This is a great example of the power of advertising,” Condon said. “A lot of money was poured into the ‘no’ side and the effect has been dramatic, down 19 points in the two weeks.”
Forty percent of people queried reported seeing the anti-Proposition 37 ads since they hit the airwaves about two weeks ago, Condon said.
The ads feature a Central Valley farmer complaining that labeling of food products would raise prices. A second presents a researcher at a Palo Alto think tank charging that Proposition 37 is rife with alleged special-interest loopholes that arbitrarily exempt many food products from labeling.
Proponents call the ads misrepresentations and contend that California shoppers have a “right to know” what’s in the food they eat.
The yes campaign has been hurt by “10 days of incessant pounding lies” on television,” said spokeswoman Stacy Malkan, “but in the end, Californians will value knowing what’s in their food, and we’re confident they will vote yes on Proposition 37.”
The results, said Kathy Fairbanks, a spokeswoman for No on 37, confirm “that the more people learn about Proposition 37, the less they like it.”