GMO prop drops in poll as spending against soars
November 2, 2012
As food and biotechnology giants spend millions of dollars battling Proposition 37, support for the mandatory genetically modified food measure is sinking. [California Watch]
An October 25 poll by the Los Angles Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences revealed that 44 percent of California voters supported the food labeling measure, a 17 percent decline from September.
While support for Prop. 37 has plummeted, spending by food and biotechnology companies against the measure has increased to more than $44 million. Major manufacturer of genetically engineered seeds, Monsanto, has spent $8.1 million opposing to the labeling measure, followed by chemical company DuPont which has contributed $5.4 million. Food giants Kraft and PepsiCo, as well as Syngenta, which manufactures seeds and pesticides, have each given about $2 million to the campaign against Proposition 37.
Proponents of the labeling measure have raised only $7.3 million, about one sixth of the amount contributed by the opposition.
Director of the USC/Los Angeles Times Poll Dan Schnur said the spending gap has certainly impacted the decline in voter support.
“There’s no question that the money has had a tremendous impact,” Schnur told California Watch. “On the other hand, they’ve spent it very effectively.”
Spokesman for the Proposition 37 campaign Stacy Malkan has taken note of the spending impact as well.
“They’ve been carpet-bombing the state with a million dollars a day in deceptive ads,” Stacy Malkan said. “We haven’t been able to counter this stuff because they’re on the air every hour, sometimes four times an hour, on every station across the state.”
But, the genetically modified labeling opposition says that the campaign against the measure does not just consist of big corporations. Spokeswoman for No on 37 Kathy Fairbanks said the proposed regulation will increase farmers’ costs and make grocery stores vulnerable to lawsuits.
“There’s no question that this measure makes it easy for lawyers to file baseless shakedown lawsuits,” Fairbanks said. “It creates a very rich, lucrative target for them.”