With the new analysis by the Field Poll about the fate of Proposition 86, a comment. The analysis suggests that voter turnout mattered. If it were during a presidential election, with more young, first-time, low-income and other voters, the measure may have won–despite the $60 million in advertising the tobacco companies through against it.
It’s remarkable that the two of the closest ballot measures in the last five years are the ones that would have expanded coverage: Prop 72, which got over 49% of the vote, and Prop 86, which got 48%. It suggests that we are very close to geting majority voter support for major health reform.
ONE OTHER TAKE: The failure was not about children’s coverage: few knew the specifics of what the tax would fund; It wasn’t even against the concept of increasing the tobacco tax! Even the tobacco industry’s own ads that said, “I want to raise cigarette taxes, but..” and then went on with various objections. The last time an industry ran that type of campaign was last year with Prop 79 (“The drug industry wants to provide discounts, but only voluntarily…”) As it happens, by accepting the premise that drug costs needed to be lowered, they won the battle but lost the war. Similarly, could we see a tobacco tax in the mix next year, to help fund health care reform?