California voters show little appetite for race-based affirmative action, lukewarm over “split-roll” property tax

In a daunting sign for two of California’s high-profile ballot propositions, voters appear unwilling to bring race-based affirmative action back to the Golden State and are only supporting an overhaul of how the state taxes commercial property by the slimmest of margins.

Those are among the key findings of a new statewide survey conducted this month by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) ahead of the Nov. 3 election, which provides a snapshot of how residents feel about everything from the presidential race — no surprise here, Democrat Joe Biden still has a commanding lead — to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Just seven weeks before the election, the results are telling for backers of propositions 15 and 16, analysts say.

“They’re both in trouble,” said Larry Gerston, a political science professor emeritus at San Jose State University. “There’s sort of an unwritten rule about ballot measures, and the thinking is that most of the time at least, you’ve got to be up about 10 points” early on, since support tends to wane as Election Day approaches.

Instead, Proposition 16 is down by double digits, surprising many observers amid growing calls for racial justice. The measure would do away with 1996’s Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action, meaning universities and public agencies would once again be able to consider race in government contracts and when deciding whom to admit or hire.

Yet despite high-profile support from Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Golden State Warriors, the San Francisco Giants, just 31% of likely voters say they approve of Proposition 16, while 47% oppose it and 22% say they are undecided. Just 9% of Republicans support the proposal, a figure that rises only to 46% among Democrats. There is no region in the state where a majority of likely voters support the idea, and the Bay Area and Los Angeles are the only two regions in the state with more than one-third support.

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“People aren’t making a connection between the racial justice issues that have certainly surfaced in the last few months and this particular ballot measure,” said PPIC president Mark Baldassare. “To me that says a lot of people don’t know what it is. The proponents probably need to provide a bit of a history lesson around Prop 209.”

Proposition 16 was placed on the ballot by state lawmakers and is endorsed by the heads of all three public higher education systems — UC, CSU and community college. But it is opposed by Ward Connerly, a Republican businessman and former UC regent who helped usher Proposition 209 to victory with 55% of the vote more than two decades ago, and some Asian American groups who fear they will suffer the consequences and lose seats at the state’s best schools.

Proposition 16 backers thought they might benefit from recent nationwide protests calling for an end to systemic racism. While the poll found that six in 10 Californians agree race relations in the U.S. has gotten worse in the last year, up 14 points from January 2019, residents don’t feel strongly about …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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