Prop 82 held a huge lead in the February Field Poll. In that poll, 82 was up by a 21-point margin (55-34). In last week's poll, 82 had only a 13-point lead (52-39). Yes, that is still a sizable lead, but losing that much support that quickly can't be a positive for its supporters. But, I think there is another worrisome number hidden in the bottom of the big table of statistics in the poll. If you scroll down to the bottom of that table there is a breakdown by whether the respondent had heard of 82 before the survey. Respondents that hadn't heard of 82 (44 % of respondents) strongly supported it (55-33-12). However, respondents that had heard of it gave a support/opposition ratio that was within the margin (49 46 5).
More on the flip...
So, yes, it appears that 82 has lost its momentum. Of course there are the numerous politicians who have removed their support. Schwarzenegger couldn't endorse it due to the radical right wing of his party. But the SF and LA Chambers of Commerce are taking a little bit of a risk supporting 82, especially as the statewide Chamber is basically now the lead opponent. By the by, is Rob Reiner running for governor? No? Really, Becuase you would sware that he is based upon the website name for the opposition to Prop 82: www.stopreiner.org. I mean WOW! That's some serious pandering to the right. They always need somebody to hate...this time it's Reiner. It's actually quite unfortunate. Prop 82 should be judged on its merits...not some BS about Reiner.
But at least part of the progressive shift away from 82 is due to the fact that elected officials are growing tired of legislation bypassing the traditional channels. Would Perata support a preschool program if it was brought in the legislature? Probably? Would it pass? Hell no. Unless the money can be found without taxing, the supermajority rules allow the Reps to block progressive legislation like that. While Burton isn't in the legislature anymore, that must be part of his logic as well. With the current wave of initiatives, the legislators began quite supportive. They supported the mental health bill that passed a few years ago, they supported the stem cell initiative (for the most part), but now they are realizing that if this tide doesn't turn, their budget will be eaten alive by the initiatives. Of course in this case, preschool won't be taken out of the general fund, but rather this new tax on the wealthiest Californians. But, at least in the case of Angelides, this is a tax they already plan on using for other purposes.
Preschool is a worthy cause. And 82, while somewhat flawed, is the best chance of that happening anytime in the near future. Until we reform our governance system to remove these unreasonable obstacles to majority will, we are left with the second best choice. In this case, that is 82.