Proposition 37, which asks voters to require labels on genetically engineered food sold in California, is dropping in the polls as the well-funded opposition campaign pounds airwaves and mailboxes with arguments against the measure.
A USC Dornsife / Los Angeles Times poll released today shows 44 percent of surveyed voters support the initiative, down from 61 percent in September. The same poll shows those opposing it growing from 25 percent to 42 percent.
Those results are similar to recent polls released by Pepperdine University and the California Business Round Table, which showed support this month at 48 percent, down from 67 percent in September.
The No on 37 campaign has raised $35.6 million, according to MapLight, while the Yes campaign has raised $7.7 million. The opposition is funded largely by companies that make pesticides and genetically modified seeds that contain pesticides. They are running multiple television ads arguing that Proposition 37 would raise grocery prices and that genetically engineered food is safe.
In response to the polls, the No campaign sent a press release saying, "the more voters know about what Prop 37 would really do, the more they take a dim view of it."
The Yes side -- funded by organic food companies, alternative health web site Mercola.com and hundreds of individual donors -- has had little advertising presence. The campaign plans to release a television ad this week. And it has been fighting back with press events, holding a rally with farmers at a Sacramento farmers market yesterday and a phone call with organic food companies today.
The opposition "can buy the airwaves, and that's what they've done," said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, which organized today's call with representatives of Whole Foods, Nature's Path and Amy's Kitchen, companies that support Proposition 37.
"A lot of people have been concerned about the slide in the polls," Cook said, adding that the Yes campaign is "still hanging in there and very much feel(s) we can win this."