Scientist shows ear of genetically modified corn at Monsanto Co. test farm… (P.J. Huffstutter/LA Times )
SACRAMENTO -- Backing for Proposition 37, the genetically engineered food labeling initiative, is falling, fast.
A new poll by the California Business Roundtable and the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy showed 39.1% of likely voters support the measure, while 50.5% oppose the labeling requirement. Undecided voters represented 10.5% of respondents.
The results released Tuesday show a a drop in support of nine percentage points since a similar survey just over two weeks ago.
"It seems voters have been influenced by both the No campaign and a barrage of negative editorials" in newspapers around the state, said Chris Condon of M4 Strategies, which conducted the poll of all 11 initiatives on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The Internet-based poll of 2,115 likely Califonria general election voters was conducted from Oct. 21 to Oct. 28 and had a margin of error of 3%.
The Roundtable-Pepperdine poll as well as a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll out Thursday indicate that a barrage of critical ads by opponents of Proposition 37 have eroded the measure's once-commanding, more than 2-to-1 lead.
The USC Dornsife/L.A. Times poll had the Yes side ahead with 44% compared to 42% for No.
The No campaign, backed by giant biotech companies, soft drink manufacturers and leading brand-name food processors, has raised $44 million that's funding the television advertising blitz.
The Yes campaign has raised about $7 million and only began running its own TV spots late last week.
The Yes campaign said it's just now beginning to fight. "Now that our ads are up, many voters are hearing our message for the first time that Proposition 37 is a simple labeling law that gives us the right to know what's in our food at no cost to consumers, said spokeswoman Stacy Malkan.
No spokeswoman Kathy Fairbanks said her campaign is heartened by what looks to be a trend of growing voter skepticism about the need for and the alleged cost of labeling foods containing genetically altered ingredients. "As we’ve said from the beginning, the more voters research the details of Prop. 37, they more they realize Prop. 37 is not just a simple labeling measure,” she said.
The Yes campaign, though under-financed and outgunned on the airwaves, is about to get at least some help from a group of socially and politically active advertising agencies, public relation firms, animators and filmmakers.
The group, led by the dw+h advertising agency in Santa Monica, has produced a trio of pro-Proposition 37 television spots that are expected to go up on the Internet Wednesday and would be available for airing on commercial broadcasters and cable companies.
The spots feature a grandmother, a veteran and a farmer, all saying they support transparency in food labeling and shoppers' "right to know" about all ingredients in their food.
The ads are aimed at "conservative seniors who are most vulnerable to the No on 37 messaging" that passing the intiative would lead to increased food prices, said Lucas Donat, dw+h's chief executive.