California Voters Split on Parental Notification on Abortion Ballot Proposal

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 2, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Voters Split on Parental Notification on Abortion Ballot Proposal Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 2, 2006

Sacramento, CA ( — A new poll of California voters finds them split on whether they will support a parental notification on abortion initiative that will appear on the November ballot. The poll finds about the same number of people favoring and opposing it just a year after Californians narrowly defeated a similar proposal.

A Field Poll released on Wednesday showed voters split 45 to 44 against Proposition 85, which would require abortion practitioners to notify a parent about an abortion a teenager is considering 48 hours before the abortion is done.

The poll found that 52 percent of voters are familiar with Prop. 85, which is higher than awareness of other measures on the November ballot, likely because of last year’s vote.

However, people familiar with the proposal support it 49-45 while those who are not familiar with it oppose it by a 39 to 47 percent margin. That indicates pro-life advocates have a good chance of winning if they can successfully educate more voters about it.

The Field Poll showed Democrats oppose the parental notification measure on a 61 to 28 percent margin, independents oppose it 50-38 and Republicans are almost three to one in favor of it (67 to 24 percent).

Men favor parental notification 53 to 40 but women are opposed by a 51 to 36 percent margin.

Looking at support by religion, Protestants and Catholics strongly support the measure while those of other religions or no religions are strongly opposed.

Last year, California voters defeated the parental notification measure on a 52.6 percent to 47.4 percent vote.

However organizers say the measure will fare better in a normal election year. Last year voters only considered several ballot measures supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of them went down to defeat, but Proposition 73 received the most votes.

"With so many candidates and such a diversity of issues on the ballot, it is expected that a much more representative group of California voters will turn out to vote compared to the very skewed turnout for the unpopular [special election]," the group backing the measure said in a statement.

Last year, Planned Parenthood spent $4.5 million to defeat the pro-life proposal and supporters received the most support from James Holman, the publisher of a San Diego weekly newspaper and several Catholic papers.

This year, Holman has given the parental notification campaign $2.2 million to get on the ballot and last year he spent $1.1 million to launch the Proposition 73 campaign.

In a change from 2005, the ballot measure would not include language saying abortion causes the "death of an unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born" and removes reporting requirements on how many waivers judges grant to teens in supposedly abusive home situations.

The new Field Poll interviewed 762 likely voters in English and Spanish between July 10-23. The poll has a 5 percent margin of error because the parental notification question was asked of a subsample of half of the respondents.

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