Backers of the Initiative 522 campaign to require labeling of genetically engineered foods said Friday their own polling shows 66 percent public support for the measure. The poll was done by GBA Strategies of Washington, D.C., and it queried 1,200 likely voters during June 18-23. The survey included respondents on land lines and cell phones and had an error margin of plus-or-minus 2.8 percent.
According to the poll memo released by Elizabeth Larter, spokeswoman for I-522, the pollsters asked:
Initiative Measure Number 522 concerns labeling of genetically engineered foods. This measure would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, seeds and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering, as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale. Should this measure be enacted into law?
The result: 66 percent said yes, 22 percent said no.
The memo also said that while overall support is at the two-thirds mark, 48 percent said they “strongly support” the measure.
The polling firm noted:
• “Significant majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans support labeling, as do majorities of every age group and every region of the state.
• “Support for labeling withstands a barrage of opposition attacks. After voters hear one message in favor of labeling and six messages against it, support for I522 holds at 64 percent, while opposition only increases to 29 percent.”
The I-522 campaign is shaping up as a hot and costly fight this fall. A similar measure in California last year also enjoyed more than 60 percent support early on, but lost by less than 3 percentage points under an onslaught of ads by Prop. 37 opponents, which raised nearly $46 million with heavy donations from the biotech and agribusiness sectors.
I’ve written a preview story for Sunday’s paper(s) that talks about the extent to which the “nationalized” campaigns – on both sides of I-522 – are relying mostly on out of state money so far.