Californians Would Vote to Authorize and Call Constitutional Convention, New Statewide Poll of 1000 Voters Finds

Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:24pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Support Remarkably Consistent Across Party Lines, Age Groups, and Voting
SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
Californians appear ready to support two measures to call a limited citizen`s
Constitutional Convention to reform the state`s failed governance system,
according to a poll conducted by EMC Research for Repair California. After
explaining basic details of the proposal, such as who could serve as delegates
and what issues would or would not be considered, more than two-thirds of
Californians (69 percent) would vote yes on "Proposition 1," or the Citizen`s
Constitutional Convention Act, which would allow the voters of California to
directly call a Convention. A similar supermajority of 71 percent would vote yes
on "Proposition 2," or the Call for a Citizen`s Constitutional Convention, which
would immediately call a limited Constitutional Convention to assemble a
representative cross section of people of the state to propose reforms to the
state`s governance structure. Both measures only require a simple majority of 50
percent of voters to win on Election Day. 

The poll was conducted September 8-13, 2009 with 1000 registered California
voters and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent. 

"These results confirm what we have heard from Californians across the state who
are intensely frustrated with the failure of state government - and the damage
it has caused - and are ready to take power into their own hands to fix it,"
said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council and a member of
Repair California. "We are ecstatic to see support runs deep across party lines,
ethnicities and age groups." 

After sharing details of the Convention, and subjecting voters to opponent and
supporter messages, 70 percent of registered Republicans would call the
Convention, 71 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of decline to state voters
would vote yes. In age groups, support was highest among young 18-34 year-old
voters with 73 percent reporting they would vote yes, but 71 percent of those 55
years-old or higher would also approve the measures. Turnout is often considered
a key political factor for ballot measures, but the Constitutional Convention
measures are strong with low propensity voters (71 percent) and with high
propensity voters (70 percent). Support for the Constitutional Convention was
particularly high with Latino voters (80 percent). Men registered as decline to
state voters were least supportive, with 67 percent saying they would support
the measure. 

Voters are extremely pessimistic about the direction of California. Only 14
percent think the state is on the right track and 77 percent think the state is
on the wrong track. 

Voters were asked what their highest priority would be if they were a delegate
to a Constitutional Convention limited to governance reform. Their highest
priorities were limiting the influence of special interests, reducing waste and
bureaucracy, and controlling spending. Their lowest priority was changing Prop.

If the election were held today, without any basic information or positive or
negative campaigning, just rudimentary ballot language, the two measures still
look strong with 57 percent voting yes on Proposition 1 and 34 percent voting
no. Sixty-three percent would vote yes on Proposition 2 and 28 percent would
vote no. 

Repair California is finalizing two ballot measures to submit to the Attorney
General for the November 2010 ballot. The first measure would amend the
Constitution to give the voters the right to call a Constitutional Convention, a
right currently reserved only for the Legislature. The second measure would call
the Convention. As has been successfully and legally done in many other states,
the measure would limit the Convention to issues of governance, specifically
delineated as (1) the budget process, (2) the election and initiative process,
(3) the relationship between state and local governments, and (4) management of
state bureaucracy. Delegates would be barred from proposing any tax increases. 

If called, the Convention would gather in early 2011, then propose a revised
system of governance to the voters in a special election in late 2011. 

"We want to make one thing very clear: This effort is as diverse as the state of
California," said Wunderman. "We are working with Republicans, Democrats,
Greens, Libertarians and Nonpartisans. We are working with every gender,
ethnicity and age group. Part of our systemic failure is our dissension into
narrower and narrower interests. This Convention can unite us again." 

About Repair California

Repair California is a broad-based coalition of Californians dedicated to
achieving real reforms that are needed to get California functioning again.
While the movement was initiated by the Bay Area Council, it has rapidly spread
to include individuals and groups from around the state. 

Bay Area Council
John Grubb, O: 415-946-8705
C: 415-847-6320 

Copyright Business Wire 2009