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Field Research Corporation

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THE FIELD POLL

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Release #2426 NO SIDE LEADS 44% TO 38% ON PROP. 32 PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS INITIATIVE. LARGE PROPORTION UNDECIDED. MIXED VIEWS OF STATES NEW PENSION REFORM LAW. By Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field

Release Date: Friday, September 21, 2012 IMPORTANT: Contract for this service is subject to revocation if publication or broadcast takes place before release date or if contents are divulged to persons outside of subscriber staff prior to release time. (ISSN 0195-4520)

Proposition 32, the ballot initiative to reduce special-interest influence campaign spending in state politics, is shaping up to be a major heavyweight battle. A new survey conducted jointly by The Institute of Governmental Studies at (IGS) UC Berkeley and The Field Poll finds 38% of likely voters inclined to vote Yes, but a slightly larger proportion (44%) intending to vote No. A relatively large proportion (18%) are undecided. The poll finds that how voters view the influence of labor unions and corporations in state politics correlates with their voting intentions on Prop. 32. While pluralities of likely voters think both groups have too much influence in state political matters, more are critical of corporations (67%) than labor unions (47%). Voters who think labor unions have too much influence are more likely to be supportive of Prop. 32, but among the larger segment who think corporations have too much influence the No side has the advantage. The poll also finds voter opinions of the states new pension reform law designed to rein in state and local public sector employee pension costs are mixed. Statewide 18% of voters believe the changes in the law went too far, 39% feel they were about right, and 26% say it didnt go far enough. Another 17% have no opinion. Views about the law are also related to voter preferences of Prop. 32. These are the topline findings from The Institute of Governmental Studies UC Berkeley-Field Poll conducted September 6-18 among a representative sample of likely voters in the upcoming November 6 statewide election. Voter preferences on Prop. 32 overall and across key subgroups The survey finds 38% of likely voters now disposed to vote Yes and 44% inclined to vote No. A relatively large 18% were undecided at the time of the survey.
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IGS UC Berkeley-Field Poll Friday, September 21, 2012

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While there are some differences in the way political partisans feel about Prop. 32 they are not currently as great as exist on a host of other political issues. The poll finds Democrats on the No side by a two to one margin (52% to 24%), with a relatively large 24% undecided. Republicans favor the measure 52% to 37%, with a smaller proportion (11%) undecided. Independents favor the measure by eight points (45% Yes and 37% No). Voters in union households oppose Prop. 32 greater than two to one (61% to 28%), with 11% undecided. However, non-union household voters, who make up the large majority of the electorate, are narrowly supportive 41% to 38%, with many (21%) undecided. Table 1 Voter preferences about Proposition 32, the Payroll Deduction for Political Contributions initiative (among likely voters) Yes voter No voter Undecided Total Party registration Democrats Republicans No party preference/other Region Los Angeles County Other Southern California Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Other Northern California* Union affiliation Union household Non-union household Gender Male Female
* Small sample base.

38% 24% 52% 45% 25% 48% 41% 37% 30% 28% 41% 42% 34%

44 52 37 37 53 36 41 43 48 61 38 42 45

18 24 11 18 22 16 18 20 22 11 21 16 21

How much influence do labor unions and corporations have in state politics? The sample of likely voters was asked how much influence labor unions and corporations currently have in California politics. While pluralities of voters see both groups as having too much influence, the proportion saying this about corporations (67%) is significantly greater than it is for labor unions (47%).

IGS UC Berkeley-Field Poll Friday, September 21, 2012

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Table 2 Voter perceptions about the influence that labor unions and corporations have in California politics (among likely voters) Labor unions Corporations Too much influence About the right amount Too little influence No opinion 47% 32 15 6 67% 17 11 5

Perceived influence of corporations, labor unions in politics related to Prop. 32 vote How voters view the influence of labor unions and corporations on state politics relates to voting intentions on Prop. 32. Among voters who think labor unions have too much influence the Yes side leads on Prop. 32 50% to 37%. However among the larger segment of voters who think corporations have too much influence the No side leads 48% to 35%. Table 3 How views about the influence of labor unions/corporations in California politics relate to voter preferences on Prop. 32 (among likely voters) Vote preference on Prop. 32 Yes voter No voter Undecided Total voters Labor unions Too much influence About the right amount/too little Corporations Too much influence About the right amount/too little 38% 50% 27% 35% 46% 44 37 53 48 36 18 13 20 17 18

Voter reactions to the states new pension reform law Another survey question asked voters their views of a new law passed by the California legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown that makes a number of changes to the state and local public pension system. Among other things, the law reduces pension benefits and increases the retirement age of newly hired state and local government workers, and requires all workers who are not contributing half of their retirement costs to pay more.

IGS UC Berkeley-Field Poll Friday, September 21, 2012

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Voter reactions to the law are generally mixed. Slightly less than one in five likely voters (18%) believes the changes brought about by the law went too far, 39% feel they were about right, while 26% think the changes didnt go far enough. Another 17% have no opinion. While a plurality of Democrats (39%) say the changes made by the law are about rights, of those who think otherwise more believe they went too far (27%) as feel they didnt go far enough (16%). Among Republicans the largest proportion (43%) says the law didnt go far enough, 37% feel the changes made were about right and just 9% say they went to far. Pluralities of both Yes and No voters on Prop. 32 think the pension reform changes that were enacted were about right. However, Yes voters are nearly three times as likely to feel they didnt go enough as feel they went too far, while more No voters think the changes went too far as not far enough. Table 4 Voter opinions of California's new pension reform law (among likely voters) Didn't Went About go far No too far right enough opinion Total 18% 39 26 17 Party registration Democrats 27% 39 16 18 Republicans 9% 37 43 11 No party preference/others 13% 44 21 22 Union affiliation Union households 25% 45 17 13 Non-union households 16% 38 29 17 Vote preference on Prop. 32 Yes voters 14% 40 38 8 No voters 26% 40 19 15 Undecided voters* 13% 39 23 25
* Small sample base.

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IGS UC Berkeley-Field Poll Friday, September 21, 2012

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Information About The Survey


Methodological Details

This survey was conducted jointly by The Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley and The Field Poll September 6-18, 2012. Interviews were conducted with 1,183 California registered voters, including 902 voters considered likely to vote in the November 2012 general election. In order to cover a broad range of issues and still minimize voter fatigue, most of the findings in this release are based on a random subsample of 434 likely voters. The survey was conducted by telephone using live interviewers in six languages and dialects English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese. The overall registered voter sample was supplemented to include additional interviews among ChineseAmerican, Korean-American and Vietnamese-American voters to enable these voter subgroups to be compared to those of other racial/ethnic voter populations. Funding for the multi-ethnic samples was provided by New America Media, through a grant from the Blue Shield of California Foundation. Up to six attempts were made to reach and interview each randomly selected voter on different days and times of day during the interviewing period. Interviews were completed on either a voters landline phone or a cell phone. In this survey 909 interviews were conducted on a landline phone and 274 were completed through a cell phone contact. After completion of interviewing, the overall sample was weighted to align it to the proper statewide distribution of voters by race/ethnicity and other demographic characteristics of the California registered voter population. Sampling error estimates applicable to any probability-based survey depend upon its sample size. According to statistical theory, 95% of the time results from the overall likely voter sample are subject to a maximum sampling error of +/- 3.4 percentage points, while findings based on the random subsample are subject to a maximum sampling error of +/- 4.8 percentage points. The maximum sampling error is based on percentages in the middle of the sampling distribution (percentages around 50%). Percentages at either end of the distribution have a smaller margin of error. Sampling error will be larger for findings based on subgroups of the overall sample. Questions Asked Proposition 32 is the Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction, Contributions to Candidates initiative. It prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. It prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees and prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees. Fiscal Impact: Increased costs to state and local government, potentially exceeding 1 million dollars annually, to implement and enforce the measure's requirements. If the election were being held today, would you vote YES or NO on Proposition 32? (ASKED OF A RANDOM SUBSAMPLE OF LIKELY VOTERS) Thinking about who has influence in California politics Do you think labor unions have too much, too little or about the right amount of influence in California politics? (ASKED OF A RANDOM SUBSAMPLE OF LIKELY VOTERS) Do you think corporations have too much, too little or about the right amount of influence in California politics? (ASKED OF A RANDOM SUBSAMPLE OF LIKELY VOTERS) As you may know, to help deal with its long-run fiscal problems, California has just passed a law that reduces the pension benefits for newly hired state and local government workers. It leaves current workers benefits largely unchanged but requires that they contribute more to pay for it. Do you think this law went too far in cutting benefits, handled the problem about right or has it not gone far enough in cutting benefits? (ASKED OF ALL LIKELY VOTERS)