Saturday, September 29, 2012

Voters May Reject California's Proposition 32

It's the big payroll protection initiative, which I'd love to see passing in November. But it's a hard sell, since the measure is deceptive. It indeed appears to contain major loopholes for big business, and is hence seen as punitive and unfair.

At the Los Angeles Times, "California voters leaning against campaign finance initiative":

SACRAMENTO — California voters appear poised to reject a November ballot measure that would ban political contributions by payroll deduction, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they opposed Proposition 32, which would eliminate the main fundraising tool of unions. Just 36% said they supported the measure, which would also bar corporations and unions from contributing directly to candidates.

Proponents of the measure, having focused squarely on unions in two past attempts to end paycheck deductions for political purposes, adopted the language of the Occupy Wall Street movement this time around and rebranded their campaign as an effort to curb the power of special interests.

An ad touting the measure says it would "cut the money tie between special interests, lobbyists and career politicians" and "put people back in charge." The supporters' core argument is that the initiative would apply "evenhandedly, without exception," to corporations and unions.

Campaign finance experts disagree, saying the measure would disproportionately hobble organized labor by prohibiting payroll deductions to collect campaign cash. Corporations, they say, rarely use such a method to raise political money, instead tapping executive checkbooks and company treasuries.

The labor-backed opposition campaign has hit on that theme, airing radio and TV ads for more than a month that paint the measure as a deceptive corporate power grab, complete with exemptions for business. So far, unions have raised more than $43.4 million to defeat Proposition 32, which is being bankrolled by Republican donors, conservative activists and business executives.

As a result, proponents "aren't able to convince voters this is a clean-government, stop-special-interests initiative," said Dave Kanevsky of the Republican polling firm American Viewpoint, which conducted the survey in conjunction with the Democratic company Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

Indeed, when respondents heard arguments for and against the measure — supporters saying it would end influence peddling and opponents calling it phony campaign finance reform — opposition grew, with 48% saying they would vote against the initiative. Only 36% said they would vote for it.

"People are ready to believe that … corporations are spending this money to rig the system more for them," said Stan Greenberg, the Democratic pollster.
PREVIOUSLY: "Support Dwindles for Proposition 30's Multi-Billion Dollar Tax Hike."