Press release: RPI leads by 3-2 margin in new Field Poll

Date: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 12:11 PM
From: Kevin Nguyen
Subject: Press release: RPI leads by 3-2 margin in new Field Poll

Wednesday, May 1, 2002
Contact: Kevin Nguyen, 916/444-2278

RPI leads by 3-2 margin in new Field Poll
Support cuts across racial, gender, geographic, partisan lines

(SACRAMENTO) – Reacting to today’s release of a new Field Poll of California voters, sponsors of the Racial Privacy Initiative (RPI) hailed the 3-2 margin of support as indicative of the Initiative’s wide support at this early stage of the campaign, even before RPI has been certified for the ballot.

“The latest poll numbers are consistent with our internal tracking polls and demonstrate RPI’s support crosses racial, gender, geographic and partisan lines,” said Ward Connerly, Chair of the American Civil Rights Coalition, the sponsoring committee for the Initiative. “We welcome into our coalition all people who are tired of the race boxes and want to move forward, beyond race.”

The proposed constitutional amendment would largely end the governmental practice of classifying and tracking individuals by race, ethnicity, color or national origin. Upon qualification and passage, racial check-off boxes would be phased out in state and local government forms by 2005, with explicit exemptions for such areas as medical research and treatment, law enforcement and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

In a poll of 546 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent, RPI’s supporters outnumbered opponents by a 3-2 margin, 48%-34% (18% were undecided). What this means is that if the election were held today, RPI would be approved by the California electorate by a margin of approximately 60% to 40%. In a show of early awareness without reference to the “Racial Privacy Initiative” campaign name, 26% of respondents said yes after they were asked: “Have you seen, read or heard anything about a proposed statewide initiative having to do with the classification of people by race or ethnicity?” Similarly, respondents’ support or opposition was gauged after being read the ballot title and summary (that doesn’t mention the name “Racial Privacy Initiative”) assigned by the California Attorney General.

Whites, Latinos and males supported RPI by a 5-3 margin, women by a 4-3 margin and blacks voters by 42-41, while Asian voters opposed RPI, 42-35. Among conservatives, there was a 2-1 margin of support (59-26); a plurality (49-34) of liberals opposed RPI; and among middle-of-the-road voters, who comprise the crucial 43% of the vote, RPI achieved a 5-3 favorable margin (49-30). Republicans embraced RPI by a 58-26 margin, as did Democrats by a 43-37 edge. Supporters of Governor Gray Davis embraced RPI by a 43-40 margin, Bill Simon supporters by a 61-25 margin. RPI supporters outnumbered opponents in every part of the state except the San Francisco Bay Area (where it was trailing 40-34).

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