Poll: Language of Reed's Pension Measure Unpopular with California Voters

February 1, 2014

Contact: Steven Maviglio, 916-607-8340

78% Reject It After Learning It Eliminates the Vested Retirement Benefit of Public Employees

Sacramento – By wide margins, California voters are opposed to key provisions in San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s proposed ballot measure that would eliminate the vested benefit rights of public employees, according to new data released today by Washington, D.C.-based pollster Garin-Hart-Yang.

“Seventy-eight percent of likely voters have an unfavorable reaction to eliminating vested pension benefits of police, firefighters, and public employees, including 54 percent who say they have a very unfavorable reaction,” notes pollster Fred Yang in a memo that looks at the specific language of the impact of the measure https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3e0EsPv4hKSV040UFo1cjc2V28/edit.

The polling tests language similar to what Attorney General Kamala Harris has written in her title and summary of the Reed measure. The poll was conducted last month with a statewide sample of 801 voters. It was sponsored by Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition of more than 1.6 million public employees and retirees.

Opposition to the Reed measure came from key voter blocs. They include:

  • 82% of Republicans, 77% of Democrats, and 71% of decline to state voters;
  • 79% of voters who initially said they would vote for the ballot proposal;
  • 80% of white voters, 74% of African-American voters, and 73% of Latino voters; and
  • 94% of voters in the San Diego media market, 77% of voters in Sacramento, and 69% percent in LA County.

Voters also reject the merits of the ballot measure. For example, 66 percent say they oppose “amending California’s constitution to allow government employers to eliminate future benefits for current workers.”

Mayor Reed has said he will make a decision on moving forward on his measure by the end of the month.

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