Capitol Alert

Poll: Prop. 45 trails, water bond, Jerry Brown up

Support for the Nov. 4 ballot initiative requiring that health insurance rate changes be approved by the state’s elected insurance commissioner is eroding, according to a new poll out late Wednesday, with the measure faltering under the weight of a $57-million campaign funded largely by insurers.

The Public Policy Institute of California survey found that Proposition 45 is supported by just 39 percent of likely voters, sliding nine percentage points since September. Some 46 percent would vote no and 15 percent remain undecided.

Proposition 45’s supporters have mustered $2.7 million through Wednesday, and are relying largely on grassroots efforts and media stunts to broadcast their message. On Thursday, they plan to rally outside the offices of Blue Shield in San Diego to deliver a ton of steer manure they say is meant to symbolize the “BS” insurers are shoveling as part of the paid campaign against the imitative.

The survey, produced with support from The James Irvine Foundation, determined likely voter sentiment on other issues, including:

▪  Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown continues to hold a commanding 16-point lead over Republican Neel Kashkari. Seeking an unprecedented fourth term, Brown is ahead of Kashkari 52 percent to 36 percent, through that’s down from a 21-point advantage last month. Brown’s approval rating stands at 54 percent, through two of his biggest priorities on the fall ballot are not fairing equally.

▪  On Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, 56 percent say they would support it after being read the ballot title and label for the measure. Another 32 percent would vote no and 12 percent are unsure. Amid the drought, the measure is favored by 68 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents and 43 percent. Fifty-four percent believe the measure is very important and 33 say it’s somewhat important.

▪  President Barack Obama’s job approval has fallen to a record low of 44 percent. Congress’ job performance is at 16 percent approval and 79 percent disapproval, though voters give their own representative a rating of 47 percent. Some 48 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate for the House and 41 percent would vote for the Republican if the election were held today.

▪  Proposition 2, the state rainy day fund measure, is hovering just below the 50-percent threshold, with 49 percent of likely voters in agreement, 34 percent against it and 17 percent undecided. It has increased in popularity by six percentage points since September, with much of the new support coming from those who had been undecided. The measure is nearly evenly supported by Democrats, Republicans and independents.

▪  Proposition 47, a measure that would change certain drug and property crimes to misdemeanors from felonies, enjoys support from 59 percent and is opposed by 29 percent, with the remaining 12 percent unsure. Support is down very slightly from September, when 62 percent were in support, 25 percent opposed and 13 undecided. Majorities of Democrats (67 percent) and independents (65 percent) would vote yes, while Republicans are more divided.

The poll was based on a telephone survey of 976 likely voters from Oct. 12 to Oct. 19.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.

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