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When state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson asked the optimists in the audience at the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association's annual election forum to raise their hand, civil rights attorney Molly Munger lifted her arm in the air.  

That sunny outlook, it seems, extends to Munger's effort to persuade Californians to approve a $10 billion income tax hike to fund schools and early education programs. The Nov. 6 ballot measure, Proposition 38, continues to make a poor showing in public polls, with a recent survey by the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California finding just 34 percent of voters supporting the proposition.

That level is much lower than the support for Proposition 30, a rival tax measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown that has support of a slim majority of voters in the polls.


Munger said while she doesn't have current internal polling numbers to contradict the findings of the public polls, she believes the campaign's message of improving funding for education will ultimately move voters.

"Our knowledge has always been that Prop. 38 does not on the ballot label alone triumph," she said in an interview after speaking at the forum.

Munger, who has already poured close to $28 million into the Proposition 38 campaign, wouldn't say how much more she plans to spend on TV ads and other efforts ahead of the election. But she said she's feeling good about a growing number of endorsements and, despite the poll results, the response from voters so far.

"When you're in the campaign," she said, "you're feeling very buoyed by it all."

Munger, who was scheduled to debate the measure with a representative of the No on Proposition 38 campaign at the afternoon forum at California State University, Sacramento, instead gave brief remarks at the beginning of the program. She said she had to leave early due to a scheduling conflict and was leaving another campaign representative to participate in the debate portion.



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