Tonight, I sent out a chain-letter e-mail containing the text of my op-ed opposing Proposition 66. In reply, Three Strikes supporter Mike Reynolds sent me an e-mail this evening with some very good news. Hold on to your hats:
Pat, the Field Poll (http://www.field.com/index.html) has prop 66 down by one point (as of Oct. 27), a big decrease from the 53% approval they enjoyed just last week. Still it is not time to relax our efforts. I’ll forward your chain email on to some friends and hopefully they know some undecideds.
I was shocked by this. The last polls I saw showed 3-1 support for the measure.
Spurred by Mike’s e-mail, I hopped on the internet and searched for proof of his statement. Sure enough, it’s true:
SACRAMENTO — Proposition 66, which would restrict the “three strikes” sentencing law, is in jeopardy after enjoying strong support throughout most of the campaign, according to a new Field Poll.
The trend against the initiative on Tuesday’s ballot comes as opponents, led by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have geared up a late campaign blitz to defeat it.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, where it’s moving so much within the final week,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the nonpartisan Field Poll.
During the first part of the survey, from Oct. 21 through Oct. 24, likely voters who had heard of the measure strongly supported it, 58 percent to 34 percent. But between Monday and Wednesday, support among voters who had heard of the measure dropped dramatically, with 46 percent supporting and 47 percent opposing the measure.
In the past week, the opposition campaign, which had been nearly invisible, sprang into action by running an ad featuring Schwarzenegger urging voters to reject the measure because it would let dangerous criminals out of prison.
The ad was part of a last-minute drive by prison guards, the governor and wealthy businessman Henry Nicholas to defeat the measure. Schwarzenegger plans to highlight his opposition today on a bus tour that begins in Del Mar.
“The opposition campaign suddenly emerged,” DiCamillo said.
Backers have also increased funding for their own ads this week. They argue that Proposition 66 will fix three strikes by preventing criminals who commit relatively minor crimes for their third strike, including petty thieves who steal golf clubs, from getting a sentence of 25 years to life.
In contrast to the latest poll an early October Field Poll showed Proposition 66 with strong support, 65 percent to 18 percent.
All of a sudden, I feel less like I am tilting at a giant windmill of ignorance.
The fight continues throughout the weekend. Don’t lose heart. Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors. Send chain-mails. Get the word out! We still have a chance.