Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

Reason-Rupe Asks Californians What Initiative They Would Place on the November Ballot


The latest Reason-Rupe poll of 696 California voters, asked respondents if there was any initiative or proposition not already on the California ballot this year that they wished were being put to a vote. Two-thirds of Californians did not wish to put an additional initiative on the ballot; a quarter had something they wished to add.

Among the quarter of Californians who would like to add a ballot proposition, the issue of same-sex marriage topped the list. Californians had previously put it to a vote in 2000 with Proposition 22 and in 2008 with Proposition 8, both limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. Proposition 22 had passed as an ordinary statute 61 to 39 percent, but was overturned by the California Supreme Court in 2008. Proponents of banning gay marriage then introduced Proposition 8 in 2008, which passed 52 to 48 percent, and amended the California Constitution to only recognize marriage for opposite-sex couples. Although the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 in Strauss v Horton, US District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturned Prop 8 in Perry v Brown and issued an injunction. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Walker's decision. Since then, proponents of Prop 8 have requested the US Supreme Court review the case; the Court has not yet responded.

Coming in a close second was the legalization of marijuana, many mentioning Proposition 215. In 1996, Prop 215 passed 56 to 44 percent, which legalized the possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal medical use with a valid doctor's recommendation. Problematically, marijuana even for medical purposes is illegal under federal law, and has led to federal raids of medical marijuana dispensaries in California. Back in April 2011 the Reason-Rupe poll found that 69 percent of Americans thought each state should be allowed to decide how it wants to regulate the use of marijuana and 27 percent thought states should not be allowed to have different rules than the federal government.

The next highest mention was taxation in California. Some respondents mentioned raising taxes on higher income Americans, others mentioned lowering taxes, and others specifically mentioned Proposition 13 passed back in 1978. Proposition 13 also amended the California Constitution which limited the tax rate for real estate and requires the legislature to reach a two-thirds vote before enacting a tax increase. Instead of annually reassessing property values, property taxes would be determined based on cost at acquisition (buying the house) and increases would be limited to an annual inflation factor of no more than 2 percent. (Homeowners over 55 can transfer the assessed value of their present home to a replacement home if they move within the same county).

After taxes, Californians mentioned a proposition to balance the budget each year or something related to cutting spending. Interestingly, California governor Jerry Brown previously expressed support for a balanced budget amendment in the 1970s.

Note: The above chart shows the top four issues Californians mentioned. Respondents answered using their own words and gave up to two responses.

California telephone poll conducted October 11th-15th on both landline and cell phones, 696 adults, margin of error +/- 3.8%. The sample also includes 508 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5.1%. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full methodology can be found here. Full poll results found here.