Poll: Race Too Close to Call for Two Schwarzenegger Propositions

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Stanford University-Hoover Institution-Knowledge Networks (S-H-KN) online survey shows two of the statewide ballot propositions backed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a statistical dead heat.

Prop. 74 (Teacher Tenure) and Prop. 77 (Redistricting) both split likely California voters right down the middle.

Another Schwarzenegger initiative, Prop. 76 (State Spending and School Funding Limits), is trailing by a wide margin, with 70% of likely California voters saying they will vote against it.

Prop. 75 (Public Employee Union Dues), endorsed by the Governor, currently has a commanding majority, with 70% of likely voters saying they will vote in favor.

While the current numbers are generally consistent with other recent surveys conducted by the Field Poll and the Public Policy Institute of California, the S-H-KN survey indicates that support for both Proposition 74 and Proposition 77 is higher than previously reported. In the S-H-KN poll respondents view a facsimile of the actual ballot on their computer screens and make yes or no vote decisions just as they will do in the upcoming special election. No undecided option is offered, although survey respondents can choose not to vote on a proposition just as voters can in the election. Consistent with S-H-KN polling in the 2003 recall election (see www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp for all materials related to this press release), this methodology resulted in far fewer undecided responses than telephone surveying.

The survey also tracked how the other four initiatives on the November ballot are faring.

Prop. 73 (Parental Notification) is currently leading by a margin of 54% to 46%, but this margin is within sampling error of the survey. The competing prescription drug price initiatives both enjoy majority support at this time.

Prop. 79, the initiative backed by consumer advocacy groups and unions, is leading 58% to 42%. The initiative sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, Prop. 78, has a similar level of support, with 59% of likely voters in favor, and 41% opposed. If both propositions pass, the one receiving the most votes becomes law, so the outcome here is highly uncertain.

In contrast, Prop. 80, the final statewide initiative to appear on the November ballot (Electric Service Providers Regulation), currently trails by a wide margin. The poll finds that only 37% of likely voters are currently in favor, with 63% opposed.

This survey is the first of two planned online surveys. A second poll will be conducted at the end of October, in the final weeks preceding the election on November 8.

Survey Methodology

The S-H-KN poll is based on 1006 interviews conducted between October 7 and October 12 with 459 respondents considered to be likely voters. The survey was conducted by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, jointly funded by Stanford’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) and the Hoover Institution, and designed by Professors David Brady, Morris Fiorina and Jon Krosnick, and Ph.D. candidate Laura Miller. For more detailed poll results and information on the methodology, see the appendix at: http://www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp.

According to J. Michael Dennis, vice president and managing director at Knowledge Networks, the poll was administered to a random sample of California adults who are members of a national "web-enabled panel" – created and maintained by Knowledge Networks – that is designed to be representative of the U.S. population.

Initially, participants were chosen scientifically by a random selection of household telephone numbers. Individuals in selected households were then contacted by telephone and invited to participate in the research panel.

Those who agreed to participate were sent an Internet appliance and received an Internet service connection provided by Knowledge Networks. Others who already had home-based computers and Internet service were permitted to participate using their own equipment. Panelists received unique log-in information for accessing surveys online, and were sent e-mails three to four times a month inviting them to participate in research. For the recall election surveys, Knowledge Networks randomly selects adult panelists in California.

For Media Queries:

David W. Brady, Senior Fellow and Associate Director of Research, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, at (650) 723-9702 or brady [at] hoover.stanford.edu. Morris Fiorina, Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution at (650) 723-0254 or mfiorina [at] stanford.edu.

For more information, contact J. Michael Dennis, Vice President and Managing Director, Government and Academic Research, at: (650) 289-2160 or mdennis [at] knowledgenetworks.com