Category: California Field Poll

Is the California Death Penalty Toast?


The newly renovated San Quentin Prison Death Chamber

AP Photo

Perhaps, or maybe the California Death Penalty will be abolished according to the latest California Field Poll.

With concern over the cost of capital punishment rising, California voters may be poised for a historic vote to abolish the state’s death penalty, a new Field Poll indicates.

Support for the measure, Proposition 34, remains below 50 percent. But the poll released this morning found 45 percent of likely voters favor replacing the punishment with life in prison, while 38 percent oppose doing away with capital punishment.

Another 17 percent say they remain undecided.

The latest survey shows support for abolishing the death penalty rising as Election Day nears. A Field Poll released in September found 42 percent in favor of the measure and 45 percent opposed, with 13 percent undecided at that time.

“It’s certainly an encouraging poll for the Proposition 34 supporters, but it still has a long way to go,” Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said. “It’s got to get above 50 percent, and it’s moving in the right direction.”

DiCamillo said many measures tend to lose support after voters take a closer look at the issues, but Proposition 34 “is actually gaining strength as voters learn more about it.”

Nahhhh, the California Death Penalty is going nowhere.

Former California Governor’s Deukmejian and Wilson just recently came out against Proposition 34.

Also, law enforcement will go to the radio over the weekend and remind voters what this proposition would do.

This is not to say that the election will be closer than the previous one in 1978.

But, not this election will the death penalty be abolished.

Here is the Field Poll graphic:

California Death Penalty Field Poll


California Field Poll: Tobacco Tax Measure Slipping in Support


The latest California Field poll is out.

California voters still favor a ballot measure to raise the state’s tobacco tax, but the margin is slipping, suggesting a potentially close finish in the election Tuesday.

The measure, once supported by a wide majority of Californians, now leads by only eight percentage points among likely voters, 50 percent to 42 percent, according to a Field Poll released today.

The race’s tightening follows a flood of advertising by tobacco companies against the tax.

“It’s on a downward trajectory,” poll director Mark DiCamillo said. “The question is how steep is the slope downward. I suspect it will get closer than eight points.”

Ultimately, the tobacco tax measure will fall, if there is a turn out of older Republican voters.

If the measure had been written better and the money raised would have gone to California-based foundations/research facilities that fight smoking, the initiative would have easily passed.

This race may be close.


Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 23, 2012


California Mission

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Defense of Marriage Act ruled unconstitutional by judge

A judge on Wednesday declared the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and ordered the federal government to ignore the statute and provide health benefits to the wife of a lesbian federal court employee.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White was the first since the Obama administration announced a year ago that it would no longer defend a law it considers discriminatory and reflective of a long history of denying equal rights to gays and lesbians.

White ordered the federal Office of Personnel Management to enroll the wife of Karen Golinski, an attorney for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the health benefits program available to other employees of the federal judiciary. The Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the extension of federal benefits to same-sex spouses, and Golinski’s wife, Amy Cunninghis, had been repeatedly denied coverage since the couple married in 2008.

“The court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law … without substantial justification or rational basis,” wrote White, who was named to the federal bench a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

White’s ruling echoed that of a Massachusetts judge who in 2010 deemed parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, a case now on appeal before the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ban on sports drinks at CA middle and high schools proposed

Sugary sports drinks would be banned during the school day at middle and high school campuses under legislation proposed this month in the Assembly.

Assembly Bill 1746 would restrict middle and high school sales of sports drinks – called “electrolyte replacement beverages” in the bill – to before and after each school day.

Sports drinks already are prohibited at elementary school campuses, according to Assemblyman Das Williams, a Santa Barbara Democrat who proposed AB 1746. The California Medical Association is among the sponsors of the bill.

CA Finance director pleads no contest to DUI charge

California state finance director Ana Matosantos pleaded no contest Tuesday to driving over the legal limit for alcohol last year in downtown Sacramento.

Matosantos was sentenced by Sacramento Superior Court Judge James P. Arguelles to three years informal probation and two days on the sheriff’s work program, for which she has the option of serving in home detention, according to her lawyer, Megan Virga.

The finance director also was required to complete a three-month DUI program and to pay a fine of $2,200, Virga said. The terms of her plea are standard for first-time offenders.

Field Poll: Obama resurgent in California

President Barack Obama is enjoying a mini-renaissance in California.

Golden State voters are giving him a higher job approval rating and larger margins of victory over potential GOP challengers than they did three months ago. And they are more confident about the future of the nation, according to a new Field Poll.

Obama’s job ratings had slipped below 50 percent last summer in a state dominated by his fellow Democrats. The new poll shows him up to 53 percent approval, still well below a 65 percent peak in 2009.

The president also has widened his lead over potential GOP opponent Mitt Romney. He leads a hypothetical Romney matchup, 55 percent to 35 percent, mostly on the strength of nonpartisans moving to his camp. Similarly, Obama leads former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, 60 percent to 32 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 56 percent to 33 percent.

Enjoy your morning!


Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 22, 2012


Moorpark College, Moorpark, California

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Community colleges hit by $149-million shortfall

California community colleges were struggling Tuesday to absorb an unexpected $149-million budget shortfall that will mean more class cuts, layoffs, borrowing and probable elimination of summer programs affecting thousands of students.

In the latest fallout from California’s ongoing fiscal crisis, the state’s 112 community colleges reported that revenues from students’ fees are $107 million below projections for the current fiscal year as more economically strapped students seek and receive fee waivers. In addition, property tax revenues also fell short of estimates by about $41 million.

The news has caused more angst and numbers-crunching in a system that has seen its budget slashed by $809 million since 2008. The new cuts pose a particular challenge because most colleges have begun spring session and have little flexibility to change course offerings or make other adjustments that could minimize the effects.

In California, Mitt Romney holds lead, but Santorum gains

While challengers rise and recede in the Republican presidential primaries, Mitt Romney’s sail remains full in California.

Rick Santorum, the most recent alternative to surge, remains six percentage points behind the former Massachusetts governor among California Republicans, according to a new Field Poll.

Newt Gingrich, who came within striking distance of Romney three months ago, has fallen nearly 20 points behind.

Though the Republican nominee is widely expected to be decided before California holds its primary election on June 5, the poll suggests a potential backstop for Romney should the race reach the Golden State.

California Field Poll results graphic is here.

Dan Walters: California’s red light cameras in jeopardy

The battle over the cameras that many California cities and counties use to nab motorists who blow through red lights or – more commonly – make rolling stops for right turns has raged in the Capitol for several years without resolution.

Critics of the cameras – which are installed and operated by private companies for shares of the resulting traffic fine revenues – say they are used primarily to generate income for local government coffers and serve little or no traffic safety purpose.

The critics found a friendly audience for their complaints in the Legislature. Two years ago, they finally won legislative approval of a bill that would have reduced fines for rolling red light turns caught on camera, overcoming stout opposition from lobbyists for local governments.

California city and county pensions in trouble, report says

Many of California’s biggest local governments spend an average of 10 cents of every dollar covering pension costs, according to a study of the largest independent pension plans released Tuesday.

The study, by Stanford professor and former Assemblyman Joe Nation and a junior at the school who is a member of a nonprofit that studies California governance, examines plans for cities and counties that do not rely on the state’s largest public pension group, CalPERS. They include the city and county of Los Angeles, the cities of Fresno, San Jose, San Francisco and San Diego, and other jurisdictions. The pension plan unveiled by Gov. Jerry Brown last year is intended to change these plans, as well as thousands of other local ones run by CalPERS.

The study found that pension spending grew by 11.4% over the past decade in the 24 largest independent pensions, larger than any other category of government spending. “That rapid growth,” the report states, “is likely to accelerate over the foreseeable future, exerting pressure on spending in other categories.”

The report pinned the debt of the plans at between $36 billion and $136 billion.

Enjoy your morning!


Poll Watch: A Majority of California Voters Favor Governor Jerry Brown’s Pension Reform Plans


According to the latest California Field Poll.

Here’s another data point in the multidimensional chess game headed toward the ballot box next year: A majority of California voters like Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension plan for state workers, according to a new poll.

In the Field Poll, 51% of respondents said the proposal to raise the retirement age for new workers and require many current ones to pay more for their pensions strikes the right balance. Twenty-four percent said they think it goes too far, and 14% said they think it doesn’t go far enough.

A solid plurality of respondents — 41% — said they think public pensions are too generous, compared with 35% who said they think they’re fine. The percentage who look unfavorably toward pensions has steadily risen.

Now, all Democrat Governor Brown has to do is persuade the public employee unions who own the majority Democrats in the California Legislature to vote to place his reform measures on the November 2012 Presidential ballot.

There will be some massaging of the reforms making it to the ballot (if they do) but with the large turnout of Democrats to support the re-election of President Obama, the reforms may not pass anyway.

Pension reforms are needed (but California’s economic and budgetary problems don’t solely rest with state employee pensions), but I do not see cutting anyone’s pension benefits in California’s economic climate, gaining political interest or support.