The two dueling California sports betting ballot measures appear to be heading for defeat. According to recent polling, Prop 26 and Prop 27 are looking like they will not pass.
A recent survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that only 34% of likely California voters plan to vote for Prop 26, with 57% planning to vote no, while 9% remain undecided. Meanwhile, only 26% are expect to vote for Prop 27, with 67% planning to vote no, while 8% are undecided.
Those numbers don’t bode well for these long-debated sports betting initiatives. However, all hope is not lost. There have been multiple ballot measures in the past that have not polled well but were eventually passed by California voters come Election Day.
Here’s a look at recent California election results that suggest Prop 26 and Prop 27 still have a chance.
In other words: Underdog ballot measures have passed before.
ELECTION SURVEY: New CA Sports Betting Poll: Prop 27 Is Down 10% With Young Voters
2020 California Prop 22: App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative
California Prop 22 was a ballot initiative during the November 2020 state election. It classified app-based rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft, as well as delivery drivers, like those who work for DoorDash and Postmates, as independent contractors.
There was tremendous debate over this measure. In a survey, conducted from Oct. 16-21, 2020, by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, 46% of California voters planned to vote yes and 42% planned to vote no, while 12% were undecided.
However, the measure ended up passing with 59% of Californians voting yes. This measure had been one of the more expensive initiatives in the history of the state. Over $205 million was raised in support of the measure, while there was over $18 million raised in opposition of it.
(Those numbers now pale in comparison to the $453 million raised by Prop 26 and Prop 27 backers.)
So, from 46% in the UC Berkeley poll to 59% in the election, that’s a 13% jump.
2016 California Prop 66: Death Penalty Procedures
Another controversial proposition in California was on the ballot in 2016. Prop 66 was out to reform capital punishment by shortening the time of legal challenges. It was also set to allow the state to house condemned men outside San Quentin, currently the only prison that has a death row for men.
In a similar fashion to the 2022 sports betting initiatives, Prop 66 was facing opposition on the ballot. Prop 62 aimed to repeal the state’s death penalty and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A survey done by USC Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times, conducted from Oct. 22-30, 2016, found that 35% of likely voters supported the measure and 43% were against it. Meanwhile, 22% were undecided.
Prop 66 was approved by voters with 51.1% voting to speed up executions. Meanwhile, Prop 62 which would have abolished the death penalty in California, was rejected by voters in the same election, with 53.1% voting against it.
If the voters had passed both initiatives, then the measure with the most yes votes would have taken effect.
From 35% support in the Los Angeles Times poll to 51.1% approval on Election Day, that’s a 16.1% jump.
READ MORE: Potential California Sports Betting Bonuses
2016 California Prop 67: Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum
The California Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum in 2016 was another underdog ballot measure that passed in California unexpectedly.
A yes on Prop 67 would ban thin plastic carryout bags at grocery and convenience stores statewide. Prop 67 would also mandate that stores charge customers a minimum 10-cent fee on the other carry-out options they supply, such as paper or heavy-duty plastic bags.
The ban was supported by environmental groups that argued the bags choke wildlife and cause problems for recycling centers when they wrap around machinery.
Meanwhile, the Plastics Industry Association helped introduce a competing ballot measure, Prop 65, which would redirect the bag fee money to an environmental fund administered by the state Wildlife Conservation Board.
In mid-October 2016, CALSPEAKS surveyed 622 likely California voters on Prop 67. Support among respondents was 45%. Meanwhile, 39% were in opposition, with 16% undecided.
Prop 67 ended up passing with 53% of the vote, while Prop 65 failed at the polls.
From 45% in the survey to 53% in the election, that’s an 8% jump.
What Does This Mean for Prop 26 and Prop 27?
These results mean we can’t assume polls will directly reflect what happens in an election. They are often correct.
But they are not always correct.
In the most optimistic poll, which was conducted in October by SurveyUSA, 43% of likely California said they planned to vote yes on Prop 26. Meanwhile, 37% said they planned to vote yes on Prop 27.
Prop 26 would pass with the same surprise jump of Prop 22 in 2020 (13%), Prop 66 in 2016 (16.1%), and Prop 67 in 2016 (8%). Prop 27 would pass with the same surprise jump of Prop 22 in 2020 and Prop 66 in 2016.