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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Californians firmly behind constitutional abortion guarantee

California Democrats — and the causes near and dear to them — appear poised to be winners two months ahead of the midterm election.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — A statewide survey of likely voters released this week shows overwhelming support for a proposition to guarantee abortion rights in the California Constitution, with most of the supporters saying the proposition is very important to them.

The Public Policy Institute of California, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank, interviewed 1,705 likely voters on various propositions that have hijacked advertising airwaves for months, Governor Gavin Newsom and their general optimism about the direction of the state. 

The most crucial information in this crunch before the Nov. 8 midterm election shows concerns over abortion rights, greenhouse gases and online gambling regulations. 

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade this year, the California Legislature passed a number of bills to protect abortion and abortion providers. But Proposition 1, the Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment, would amend the state constitution to enshrine an individual’s right to contraceptives and abortion. The amendment states, “The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.” 

Proposition 1 enjoys heavy support from Newsom, the American College of Obstetricians and GynecologistsEquality California, the California Medical Association and more organizations and activist groups. But opponents claim the amendment is loosely worded and that the state will pay millions in court fees to clarify the language. Still, a whopping 69% of likely California voters favor the amendment. 

A majority of likely voters also favor a measure to tax the very wealthy to pay for greenhouse gas reduction measures. Proposition 30 would add a 1.75% personal income tax for those making over $2 million a year to fund things like the electric car shift, firefighter training and air pollution remedies. Surprisingly, Newsom came out against this measure in a rare siding with state Republicans. With the election looming, 55% support the tax — strongly pushed by Lyft — while 40% seem just as skeptical as the governor. 

Slightly more divided is Proposition 27, a sports betting measure that would allow licensed tribes and gambling companies to offer mobile and online sports betting — all in the name of more money to combat the homelessness crisis. If passed, the fees and taxes paid by tribes and companies like DraftKings and FanDuel are could total several hundred million dollars a year. 

The measure is supported by gambling companies, some tribes, homeless advocacy groups and even Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. Others are concerned about underage mobile gambling and business being taken away from tribal casinos. Californians seem to share the access concerns, with 54% opposed to the measure. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the direction of the state has Californians most evenly divided, with 50% feeling the Golden State is headed in the right direction and 44% feeling otherwise. The survey also indicated that Newsom is likely to be re-elected after surviving a recall election in 2021, with 58% of those surveyed saying they would vote for Newsom if the vote was held today. Only 31% said they would vote the Republican candidate, state Senator Brain Dahle

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