Jonathan Tasini points us to some good poll news from California. After consistently looking like it would pass by a comfortable margin, support for Proposition 75, a Schwarzenegger-backed initiative that would require government employee unions to give prior notice to members before using dues on political activity, seems to be slipping to the point where it is currently tied.
The poll, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California has the yes and no votes tied at 46% each. In fact, all of the Schwarzenegger-backed initiatives are losing, including the teacher tenure initiative that I wrote about last week.
All in all, things are looking rather bleak for the Governator according to the LA Times:
For a governor whose public image is the driving force in the election, the survey also found broader trouble: Just 38% of likely voters gave him positive job ratings, a steep drop from a year ago. The poll was the first independent measurement of public opinion since the full engagement of campaign advertising began.
The big questions to be answered in the campaign's final stretch are whether Schwarzenegger can quickly revive his popularity — or get large groups of voters to overlook their disapproval of him and back at least one of his four ballot measures, said pollster Mark Baldassare of the policy institute.
"That's really the challenge," he said.
Earlier polls had found Schwarzenegger's best chance was Proposition 75, which could weaken his labor adversaries in Sacramento by requiring public-employee unions to get written permission from members each year before spending their dues on campaigns.
But amid a raging television ad battle over the measure, support for it has slid to 46% of likely voters, down from 58% in August, with 46% now opposed. The tight race — and the political power at stake for labor and its Democratic allies — makes Proposition 75 a central fight of the campaign's closing days.
On Thursday, unions began airing a new television ad saying the measure would stifle public workers "but not Arnold's corporate donors," an effort to build on prior criticism of Schwarzenegger's fundraising. It also stresses that union members already have the right to keep their dues from being spent on campaigns.
"Put the brakes on Arnold's sneaky power play," the ad says.
Schwarzenegger and his business allies have spent heavily on ads showing public workers saying Proposition 75 would protect them from having their union dues spent against their will on political campaigns they disagree with. Those ads are aimed, in part, at encouraging union members to buck their leadership and back the measure.
But the new poll found that 62% of union members or those with immediate family in a union opposed the measure.
- California Union Members: Not Deceived By Payroll Deception Campaign, October 25, 2005
- Teacher Tenure: Who Needs It? October 20, 2005