New Poll Projects Clear Defeat for Prop 26 and Prop 27 in California

A new poll from the University of California at Berkeley projects overwhelming defeat for Prop 26 and Prop 27 on Nov. 8.

According to the university’s survey of 6,939 likely California voters conducted Sept. 22-27, only 31% support Prop 26 and just 27% support Prop 27. Prop 26 would legalize in-person sports betting at California Indian casinos and licensed horse racetracks, and Prop 27 would legalize online sports betting in California.

On the flip side, 53% of respondents to the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll said they’re opposed to Prop 27 and 42% said they’re opposed to Prop 26. Meanwhile, 27% were undecided on Prop 26 and 20% were undecided on Prop 27. The margin of error was 2.5%.

Translation: If you’re eager for legal sports betting in California, don’t hold your breath. Even if Prop 27 manages to sway all 20% of undecided voters, it would still fall short of the required majority vote. Prop 26 would pass if it could sway all of its undecided voters. But, a month from the election, that feels unlikely.

“These results suggest that the sports wagering initiatives are floundering in the face of the opposition advertising campaigns,” UC Berkeley IGS co-director Eric Schickler said in a press release. “The lack of support among key demographic groups makes passage of each an uphill climb, at best.”

The poll showed voters 18-29 and 30-39 favored Prop 26 (43% yes to 24% no, and 46% yes to 29% no, respectively). However, the no votes outweighed the yes votes in every other age group.

  • 40-49: 34% yes, 35% no
  • 50-64: 29% yes, 43% no
  • 65+: 21% yes, 56% no

This Berkeley poll is just the latest piece of information that indicates Californians will have to wait until at least 2024 for another shot to make sports betting legal.

In September, a poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California showed 54% of likely California voters planned to vote no on Prop 27. The PPIC poll did not include questions on Prop 26.

However, Polymarket, an online crypto prediction market, listed markets on the chances of Prop 26 and Prop 27 passing in late September. As of Oct. 4, 81% of users believe Prop 27 will fail and 74% think Prop 26 will fail.

LOOKING AHEAD: Prop 26 Spokesperson Suggests There’s Room for Compromise With Prop 27

What Went Wrong?

The general consensus in the sports betting and election industries is that the Prop 26 and Prop 27 campaigns spent way too much time attacking each other through incessant ads, rather than focusing on the benefits of their measure.

Voters often react negatively to ballot measures that pump out streams of negative ads, regardless of what that measure is about.

Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, an independent research and consulting firm, said in an August 2022 report that it believes voter confusion could contribute to both measures failing. Even though there are differences, the average voter looking at two sports betting measures next to each other might not know that, and simply won’t vote for either.

IF PROP 27 PASSES … Potential California Sportsbook Promotions

About the Author

Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as News Editor and Content Manager at California Casinos in 2022. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register's recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet's high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he's somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story.