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Prop. Campaign Donations Don't Always Bring Success On Election Day

This year’s California ballot initiatives have raised more than 120 million dollars combined. But there’s not much correlation between campaign donations and success on Election Day.

Kim Alexander is president of the California Voter Foundation, the group that tracks proposition spending. She says it’s hard to convince California voters to approve a ballot measure. Typically, about one in three initiatives passes. Alexander says heavy spending in support of a proposition does not improve the chances of passage.

“You really have to convince voters to vote yes,” said Alexander. “Because the default is if you don’t understand it or you’re suspicious of what’s really behind this measure, a lot of people simply vote no or they make skip the measure and simply move on to the next one.”


Still, money is pouring into the ballot initiatives. Proposition 23, which would suspend California’s green houses gas reduction law, has gotten the most money. Supporters of that measure have given almost $10 million, while opponents have raised more than $27 million.

The poorest initiative is Proposition 19, the measure to legalize and tax marijuana. Supporters and opponents combined have raised less than three million dollars on that measure.