Post-Proposition 37 Analysis in California…

California’s Proposition 37, which would have required the labeling of genetically modified foods and was vehemently fought by the food manufacturers and big agro, lost by a slim margin of 48.5 percent to 51.5 percent at the ballot box. The non-profit organization Center for Food Safety Action Fund commissioned a study and I was especially surprised by this result: most college-educated people voted against the initiative — 45 percent to 55 percent — even though they overwhelmingly support the labeling of GM foods (68 percent to 27 percent). Huh?

Read on:

Based on the new poll, the strongest support for Prop. 37 came from Latinos (61% yes), Asians (61% yes), African Americans (56% yes) and Democratic women (60% yes). As a group, Caucasian voters turned down the measure 58% to 42%. Voters under 30 approved of the initiative (55% yes), as opposed to voters 65 years or older (61% no). Reflecting election results from the Secretary of State’s office, the initiative won in Los Angeles County (52% to 48%) and the San Francisco Bay Area (56% to 44%).

College-educated voters provided the surprise of the Prop. 37 vote and the poll. While those with a college degree denied the initiative 45% to 55%, in the new survey this same group responded that it supports the concept of GE food labeling by the overwhelming margin of 68% to 27%.

“If there was ever any doubt, this poll confirms how powerful money is in the initiative process,” said Andrew Kimbrell, founder and executive director of Center for Food Safety. “The advertising time and media exposure that a large chunk of corporate cash buys is so potent it can induce socially aware people to vote against their own interests, and the health and safety of their families.”

Whoa. I know we had a lot of Prop. 37 voters here. Thought I’d share…

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

6 thoughts on “Post-Proposition 37 Analysis in California…

  1. The Sacramento Bee and many other newspapers came out against it, not because they are necessarily opposed to labeling of GMO foods per se, but the wording of the initiative was problematic in a lot of ways. For example even things we think of as being ‘natural’ like olive oil could not be labeled ‘natural’ if the initiative passed because the pressing of the olives means they are processed. Basically the initiative itself was kind of a mess. They can probably try again with one that is worded better.

    • wasn’t that the criticism of a lot of California MTs – that it was imprecise and could be applied in ways that were not ultimately edifying for the average consumer?

      • I think there may have been some feeling that it was unnecessarily alarmist to label for GMOs, and also that just the way this initiative was worded was problematic.

        That is kind of my feeling. I have mixed feelings about GMO labeling because I’m not convinced there is a reason for their being singled out vs. other things, but on the other hand, I guess if consumers feel they want the information that is hard to argue with even if it doesn’t make sense to me. However, this initiative just had some major problems in the way it was written.

        That is the problem with, it seems, most initiatives that appear on our ballot: you get unintended consequences a lot of the time, or they just seem to be there for no particular reason other than that somebody with deep pockets paid for the signature collection (why am I voting on whether dental hygienists ought to be able to make dentures, or why somebody’s pet project ought to get state funding?). The default position for initiative votes these days really has to be a no unless it seems like there is a really good reason to vote yes.

  2. Yeah, basically the bill was a hot mess. But the quote above clearly demonstrates that Andrew Kimbrell is a condescending juicebag. Yes, it seems highly educated voters were the group most easily manipulated by big money interests into poisoning our kids. We couldn’t possibly have opposed the bill itself. Had I supported him, that would be enough to gut my support right there.

  3. I’ve lived in California for almost 14 years and I still don’t like propositions. At all. Isn’t that why we have representative government? Seems like there is no question that the majority of Californians want food to be labeled. Can’t we have a democratic process where we elect people to make that happen in the best way possible? I follow the news pretty darn closely and even I am constantly confused by the propositions. In the end I educate myself the best I can, see what the groups I support tell me to do and go with that. Completely flawed process as far as I am concerned.

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