AB32 is Popular; Gunning for Campbell and Brown


Loyal Calbuzzers know that we have argued repeatedly that betting against the environmental impulses of the California voter is risky business and the latest Field Research Corp. data on AB32 — the pioneering measure to control greenhouse gases — confirms that argument.

Nearly six in 10 voters (58%) said they favor the 2006 California law “that requires the state to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming by about 17 percent over the next 10 years.”

Nearly seven in 10 voters (69%) agreed that the state “can reduce greenhouse gases and expand jobs and economic prosperity at the same time.” That, however, was down from 74% in 2008 and 83% in 2007 — a reflection of the effects of recession.

Still, the numbers underscore the strategic problem GOP front-runner Meg Whitman has created for herself in the governor’s race by saying she would suspend AB32 and, in more recent remarks, suggesting she would jettison the law altogether, in the name of saving and expanding jobs.

Republicans oppose AB32 64-32% and conservatives oppose it 66-30%. But non-partisans support it 61-35% and moderates support the measure 64-31%. And among Democrats and liberals — forget about it: 73-23% and 84-12% respectively. (The data are from a Field Research Corp. survey of 503 registered voters March 9-15 with a margin of error of +/- 4.5%.)

So taking a stand against AB32 might help Whitman among conservative Republican primary voters — although it’s not clear she attracts them vis a vis Steve Poizner with this position. But her position will be a serious problem for her among the moderate Democratic and independent voters she would need to attract in November if she hopes to beat Democrat Jerry Brown.

Not only does Whitman continue to cite a study supporting her position that has been thoroughly debunked and repudiated, but she opens herself to Brown’s argument — as he laid it out to Calbuzz — that she is “dead wrong on the importance of reducing carbon pollution” for the sake of the environment in general and for “the lungs of little children in Southern California” in particular. Ouch.

Dudley faces danger: While the new LAT/USC poll showed that Tom Campbell remains the nominal front-runner in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, the political landscape in the last two months of the campaign looks very treacherous for him for three key reasons:

1-The National Organization for Marriage, a leader in the fight to pass Proposition 8, has targeted Campbell. The group has announced it is spending $300,000 on ads that call attention to his opposition to Prop. 8 and support for same-sex marriage, positions that are sharply at odds with most Republicans. The same group played a role in helping Scott Brown win Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat and in driving Democrat Dede Soczzafava in last year’s big special congressional election in New York.

Campbell, whose moderate views on social issues have given him trouble among conservatives in the past, has been in whistle-past-the-graveyard mode for months, insisting that the state of the economy will totally overshadow controversies like gay marriage in 2010. But the LAT poll showed that Republicans oppose it 62-to-28; the anti-gay marriage group has put out results of a poll they commissioned which supposedly shows only 2 percent of GOP voters know of his position on the issue. Even discounting the likely bias in the survey, that’s a helluva hill to climb.

2-The LAT poll shows that Carly Fiorina, Campbell’s chief rival, now holds a tiny lead, 30-to-28, among self described conservatives (who oppose gay marriage 70-to-22). While statistically insignificant, the finding is still a bad omen for Campbell, who holds at least a small lead among  virtually every other category of voter in the survey.

3-Campbell’s first-quarter fund-raising was less than stellar. Having announced a primary goal of $7 million, Dudley managed to raise only $1.6 million in the first quarter, which put him way behind Fiorina – who had $2.5 million in the bank as of December 31 – even before she reports her own first-quarter numbers. Given the advantage she holds in having her own money to spend, it’s not hard to imagine him getting buried under a barrage of negative ads in the next 60 days.

Meanwhile, on the attack ad front: University of California President Mark Yudof, a member of the California Chamber of Commerce Board, when asked whether he approves or disapproves of the attack ad on Brown produced by Chamber CEO Allan Zeremberg (but sold in advance to the board as issue advocacy), at first replied through a spokesman:

“President Yudof was not aware of this ad and did not participate in its approval. As a leader of a public university, he is non-partisan. He is looking into the circumstances surrounding the advertisement.”

When pressed further by Calbuzz to say whether he approves or disapproves of the ad, Yudof said, again through a spokesman, “He did not and does not approve of it.”

We then found this on his Facebook page:

CSU Chancellor Charles Reed would only say — through his spokesman — “The chancellor was not consulted and did not see the ad. That type of political activity is not something the CSU or the chancellor are involved in.”

He would NOT say he disapproves of the ad, leaving Calbuzz to conclude that he must approve of it since the board he serves on approved the expenditure.

As for Community College Chancellor Jack Scott — also a Cal Chamber board member — we couldn’t even get a comment from his outfit. So we assume he, too, must approve of the attack on Brown as well.

Good luck keeping those jobs if Brown gets elected guys.

Meanwhile, The California Democratic Party announced it would be filing an FPPC complaint against Whitman on grounds that her chairman, Pete Wilson, participated in the decision to fund the TV ad which is alleged to be an illegal in-kind contribution.

“This sleazy attack ad is obviously being done at the behest of the Meg Whitman campaign,” said CPD Chairman John Burton. “Clearly, there is collusion taking place and the intent couldn’t be plainer: to circumvent California law with regard to in-kind contributions.”

Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog also fired off a complaint letter to the FPPC.

Brown’s campaign used the ad as an opportunity to appeal for money and then late in the day Brown campaign manager Steve Glazer called on the Chamber to withdraw its  ad after “numerous Chamber Board members denied giving authorization to create it or Chamber dues to put it on the air.”

Said Glazer’s release: “Under the guise of an issue ad, the Chamber falsely ties Brown to job losses and budget shortfalls from the past two years, when California was led by a Republican governor. ”

Addendum: Late Wednesday, the Brown campaign released a letter from four Chamber board members — George Kieffer, Kevin Rattner, Robert Simonds and Cindy Starrett — calling on Zaremberg to stop funding the ads and pull them off the air because “to any reasonably minded person this is nothing more than a typical political attack ad.”

The hard-working Torey Van Oot of the Sac Bee Minus has the story and a link to a pdf of the letter here.

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There are 2 comments for this post

  1. avatar CAJobsInitiative says:

    From your headline, one might be tempted to think that voters had been given a balanced and objective assessment of the costs and benefits of AB32 and pronounced it good. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case.

    The “poll” in question was a series of only 7 questions (serious polls typically have 4 to 5 times that many) carefully phrased to avoid any mention of (a) the projected costs of AB 32 and (b) the fact that even if AB 32 were fully implemented tomorrow, it would do absolutely nothing to mitigate worldwide global warming.

    Instead, respondents were asked if they were generally supportive of California’s law requiring a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that “cause global warming.” Surprise! Slightly more than half said yes. That’s like asking if you’re generally supportive of losing 10 pounds – of course I am! – until you find out after the fact that you’ll have to eat a lot less and pay a lot more for the food. Hmmm … maybe not so supportive now. But that follow-up question was never asked.

    The next few questions asked if it people would support charging fees to GHG emitters provided the state returned most of the money to residents either through direct payments or reductions in things like sales taxes or electricity rates. Surprise again! Free money – who wouldn’t support that? What the pollsters failed to mention was that those returned monies would be necessary to offset the enormous increases AB 32 would bring to those same folks ‘ energy bills, and to provide “worker transition assistance” to those unfortunate enough to find themselves unemployed as a result of AB 32. Don’t take our word for that, by the way – the multi-billion dollar cap and trade auction tax is the brainchild of CARB’s Economic Allocation and Advisory Committee as a means to help consumers cope with the negative financial impacts of AB 32.

    Thanks for reporting that respondents’ confidence that California could reduce GHGs and expand jobs and economic prosperity at the same time has significantly DECLINED since 2007. Readers may also be interested to know that when asked if recent changes in state energy policy were likely to add jobs, take away jobs, or not make much of a difference, only about a third felt those changes would add jobs.

    The easiest way to get the answers you want is to keep the questions narrow, positive and based on only one side of an issue. That may make for good headlines, but it’s not nice to fool voters when billions of dollars and a million jobs are at stake.

    • avatar Ave7 says:

      From your post, one might be tempted to think that voters will be given a balanced and objective assessment of the costs and benefits of AB32 from Meg Whitman and the Cal Chamber. Unfortunately this isn’t the case either!

      Look, the point of the poll is to give voters some approximation of what they will actually hear in the paid and free media. What we know from the poll is that if you put 2-3 environmental groups on the air with one side of the argument, and Meg and the Chamber on the other side, and you biz-dorks are going to get slaughtered.

      Don’t believe me? I’ll bet you my mortgage that Meg doesn’t even mention AB32 after Labor Day.

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