The first independent polling on Proposition 26 shows the tribal in-person sports betting initiative likely headed toward defeat just like online sports betting Proposition 27.
But the tribes behind Prop 26 can take satisfaction in being ahead of Prop 27 despite not running a yes campaign.
New polling from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) shows Prop 27 trailing 27% to 53%. Prop 26 isn’t much better with 31% of voters surveyed planning to vote yes compared to 42% no.
Passage requires support from more than 50% of voters, leaving both California sports betting initiatives woefully behind about a month before the Nov. 8 election.
“These results suggest that the sports wagering initiatives are floundering in the face of the opposition advertising campaigns,” 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.”
Kathy Fairbanks, spokesperson for the Yes on 26/No on 27 campaign, provided this response to the polling:
“We are not surprised about the Prop 26 poll numbers. The deceptive ads by the out-of-state gambling corporations have thoroughly confused voters to the point where they are just saying no to it all. We have not done a single ad for Yes on 26, and instead have focused our resources on defeating Prop 27. Our polling shows that voters still strongly support Indian tribes and in-person tribal gaming.”
Proposition proponents viewed very differently
With nearly $450 million spent, the sports betting initiatives make up the most expensive proposition ballot battle in the history of American politics.
With each side taking mostly negative shots, the Berkeley poll assesses the damage done to proponents.
Voters still hold a positive opinion of California Indian gaming tribes with 53% viewing them favorably and 19% unfavorably. The question was of California tribes that operate a casino, not California tribes in general.
But national sportsbook operators seem worse for the wear of the campaign. Specifically naming DraftKings and FanDuel, IGS asked voters for their impressions on companies that operate online sports betting websites. Only 14% of voters offered a favorable opinion compared to 48% viewing them unfavorably.
Breaking down proposition support by demographic
Illustrating the lack of support for each initiative, the sports betting propositions don’t have support from any demographic group polled.
Here’s the support of the competing initiatives from various key demographics:
- Democrats: Prop 26-32%, Prop 27-26%
- Republicans: Prop 26-28%, Prop 27-25%
- Male: Prop 26-40%, Prop 27-35%
- Female: Prop 26-24%, Prop 27-19%
- Age 18-29: Prop 26-43%, Prop 27-44%
- Sports fans: Prop 26-42%, Prop 27-38%
- High exposure to ads: Prop 26-28%, Prop 27-23%
California sports betting initiative survey methodology
The Berkeley Institute conducted the poll online Sept. 22 to 27 among 8,725 registered voters in California, including 6,939 considered likely to vote in November. The Institute provided a margin of error of 2.5%.
Polling on each proposition was based on the official language appearing on the ballot.
The Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies is the oldest organized research unit in the UC system and the oldest public policy research center in the state. The Los Angeles Times co-sponsors the poll.