Inconsistent results found in polls on Calif. parental notification measure


Two recently published poll results for California’s Proposition 4 vary significantly. Results range from showing a statistical tie to a massive lead for the measure, which requires a waiting period and parental notification before a girl under 18 may have an abortion.

Last week, a poll conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion reported that the proposal was leading among likely voters 52 to 33 percent between September 28 and October 5.

According to the Knights of Columbus-sponsored survey, the initiative has majority support among women, those aged 45 or older, and Latinos. Latino support for Proposition 4 runs at 61 to 27 percent. The proposal also leads among men overall, but trails among likely voters between 18 and 29 years of age by 52 to 41 percent.

The survey reported that Proposition 4 leads by double digits in every region of California except the Bay Area, where 48 percent are opposed.

The relevant survey question asked respondents: “There will be a number of propositions on the ballot this November. Proposition 4 is the ‘Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy’ Initiative. It would prohibit abortions for minors under the age of 18 until 48 hours after a physician notifies the minor’s parent, legal guardian, or adult family member. It provides for exceptions in a medical emergency. If the election were being held today, would you vote Yes or No on Proposition 4?”

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has also released a poll on the measure, which has findings quite different from the Marist College poll.

Surveying 2,004 “adult residents” and the 1,186 likely voters among them, it was conducted between Oct. 12 and Oct. 19. The results claimed 46 percent of voters were in favor of the proposition, 44 percent were opposed and 10 percent were undecided.

The PPIC survey asked respondents:

“Proposition 4 is called the ‘Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy Initiative Constitutional Amendment.’ It changes the California Constitution, prohibiting abortion for unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor’s parent, legal guardian, or in limited cases, substitute adult relative. It provides an exception for medical emergency or parental waiver. Fiscal impact is potential unknown net state costs of several million dollars annually for health and social services programs, court administration, and state health agency administration combined. If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no on Proposition 4?”

PPIC researchers claim that support for Prop. 4 has “continued to fall short of a majority” and has declined “slightly” since last month.

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