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Tobacco Companies Contribute $54 Million to Fight Prop. 86

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Aired 4/19/09

More than $65 million has been raised in the battle over the tobacco-tax measure Prop 86 on the November ballot. Most of the campaign money against the initiative comes from outside of California. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

The nation’s two biggest tobacco companies are leading the fight against Prop 86. RJ Reynolds and Phillip Morris have together put more than $54 million into the campaign.

In contrast supporters of the measure, including the American Lung Association, have raised around $13 million. Bob Stern is president of the non-profit Center for Governmental Studies. He says history shows the side that spends the most money usually wins.

Stern: The bet would be that Prop 86 would go down. However, there have been exceptions, and voters are pretty savvy. And they’ll cut through the spending, and they’ll try to decide for themselves.

A recent Field Poll shows 53 percent of voters support Prop 86, with 40 percent opposed.                     

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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