The self-appointed defender of righteous political polling, Calbuzz, criticizes a
recent poll sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and
Small Business Action Committee on the important measure sitting on
Governor Brown’s desk, SB 202, that will move initiative measures to the
November ballot and postpone a rainy day fund/spending limit. The
problem for Calbuzz: when the Field poll asked about one part of that
bill, the results showed voters supported it. But, when the HJTA/SBAC
poll focused on the second part of the bill, postponing the rainy day
fund/spending limit, voters said the governor should veto it.
declared, by the power vested in itself, that the "central provision"
of the bill was moving initiatives to November. The truth is there are
two huge policy questions included in the bill. The rainy day
fund/spending limit policy debate goes back over thirty years to the
Gann spending limit passed in 1979, almost as far back as the issue of
whether initiatives should appear on primary ballots, a question decided
by Secretary of State Jerry Brown in the early 1970s.
claims that my insistence that the HJTA/SBAC poll puts the bill "in
context" by going beyond what the Field Poll asked and discussing the
spending limit provision is "loading the dice." In fact, it gives the
voters a fuller explanation of what the bill does. I was not the only
one to see it this way. Here is Rob Stutzman’s commentary on the same point.
SB 202 were a ballot measure (which it could be by referendum), the
title and summary would cover all aspects of the bill and would create a
context. Without a title and summary, Field polled on one aspect of the
bill, HJTA/SBAC another.
Furthermore, since this bill was passed
at the last moment in the dead of night, voters were certainly not
aware of it and the Field poll provided no background. The HJTA/SBAC
poll offered the voters more information.
credit for pointing out the skullduggery by the unions and Democratic
legislators for pushing through the bill the last minute. However, don’t
pat yourselves on the back too hard, boys, for claiming to reveal this
gut-and-amend maneuver. I wrote about the scheme the same day as Calbuzz initially did, as did Jon Fleischman at Flashreport.
M4 Strategies has overseen
polling for SBAC before and produced the one poll that caught the
fact that gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was pulling away from her
primary election rival, Steve Poizner, while other pollsters had her
with less than a ten-percent lead. In fact, Calbuzz dismissed that poll at the time as well. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.
is true that elections have consequences as Calbuzz states. Disrupting
elections also has important consequences to the people. SB 202 sets out
to disrupt elections in June and the scheduled, agreed to election on
the rainy day fund/spending limit.
If the governor signs the
bill and a referendum results, the information carried in the HJTA/SBAC
poll will clearly be part of the debate. But Calbuzz somehow argues
this information is not relevant and would prefer the governor be blind
to this response from the voters while he considers signing or vetoing
The HJTA/SBAC poll is an honest look at an important part of SB 202.