By Emily Hoeven
After all the money raised by the four campaigns on both sides of Propositions 26 and 27 — nearly $441 million so far, nearly double the previous record of $226 million set in 2020 — both measures are significantly underwater with voters, according to a new a poll from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.
- Prop. 26, which would allow Native American casinos and California’s four horse race tracks to offer in-person sports betting and permit tribal casinos to begin offering roulette and dice games, was supported by just 31% of likely voters, compared to 42% opposed and 27% undecided, according to the poll. Prop. 26 is backed by a large coalition of Native American tribes.
- Prop. 27, which would allow licensed tribes and large gaming companies to offer online and mobile sports betting outside tribal lands, was supported by just 27% of likely voters, with 53% opposed and 20% undecided. Prop. 27 is backed by online gaming companies, including DraftKings and FanDuel, and three Native American tribes.
The campaigns don’t have much time to change Californians’ minds: County elections offices are required to begin mailing ballots to all active, registered voters no later than Monday, and Election Day is just five weeks away.
The poll also found that the campaigns’ oodles of cash may actually be a liability: Voters who reported having seen lots of ads about Props. 26 and 27 were more likely by “wide margins” to oppose both measures than voters who had seen few or no ads.
It probably doesn’t help that many of the ads are confusing and possibly even misleading, and that they’re funded by four different ballot measure campaigns composed of a complex cast of players.
- One campaign, backed principally by Native American tribes, is focused solely on opposing Prop. 27.
- Another campaign, also funded principally by tribes, is focused both on supporting Prop. 26 and opposing Prop. 27.
- A third campaign, primarily funded by online gaming companies, is focused on supporting Prop. 27.
- And the fourth, funded principally by card rooms — a main competitor of tribal casinos — is focused on defeating Prop. 26.
Kathy Fairbanks, a spokesperson for the Yes on 26/No on 27 campaign, told the Los Angeles Times that her side is grateful “that voters appear to be rejecting the out-of-state gambling corporations and their $170-million campaign of deception.”
Nathan Click, a spokesperson for the Yes on 27 campaign, told the Times that Prop. 27 has faced “over $100 million in misleading and false attacks — $45 million before we even qualified for the ballot. It’s telling these same opponents haven’t spent a dime supporting their own sports betting proposal,” Prop. 26.
Props. 26 and 27 have also struck out with the editorial boards of major California newspapers, none of which have endorsed either measure, according to a list maintained by the Sacramento-based I Street Public Affairs.