First Independent Poll Paints Grim Picture For Online Sports Betting Prop 27

Written By Matthew Kredell on September 15, 2022 - Last Updated on September 21, 2022

The first independent polling on California ballot initiatives is out and it doesn’t look good for online sports betting measure Proposition 27.

Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released polling results showing a 20-point gap for online sportsbooks to overcome. With Election Day coming up in early-November, they must do so in less than two months.

If the election were today, PPIC says 54% of likely voters surveyed would vote no on Prop 27, 34% yes and 12% are unsure.

To amend the state constitution to allow for online California sports betting through partnerships with Indian tribes, Prop 27 must get support from more than 50% of voters.

Yes on 27 spokesman Nathan Click explained the early polling deficit:

“Prop 27 has taken over $100 million in misleading and false attacks – $40 million before we even qualified for the ballot. It’s telling these same opponents funding these ads haven’t spent a dime on commercials supporting their own sports betting proposal, Prop 26.”

The Institute only polled what it considered three higher-profile ballot measures. It did not conduct polling on Proposition 26, which would legalize in-person sports betting at California tribal casinos and California horse racing venues.

Click continued with why he believes Prop 27 can make up the deficit:

“No one who lives in our state can deny that we need permanent solutions to our homelessness crisis. Only Prop 27 will dedicate hundreds of millions of permanent funding that can be used for solutions like tiny homes, permanent supportive housing and mental health treatment to help get people off the street. Twenty-five states have authorized safe and responsible online sports and cracked down on the illicit and unsafe offshore sports betting market. California should be next.”

Survey findings on Prop 27

To get an unbiased response, PPIC polled the initiatives based on proposition number, ballot title and ballot label.

Here’s exactly how PPIC phrased the question:

“Proposition 27 is called Allows Online and Mobile Sports Wagering Outside Tribal Lands. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. It allows Indian tribes and affiliated businesses to operate online and mobile sports wagering outside tribal lands. It directs revenues to regulatory costs, homelessness programs, and nonparticipating tribes. The fiscal impact is increased state revenues, possibly in the hundreds of millions of dollars but not likely to exceed $500 million annually. Some revenues would support state regulatory costs, possibly reaching the mid-tens of millions of dollars annually. If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no on Proposition 27?”

Broken down further, Prop 27 has support from:

  • 34% of Democrats
  • 21% of Republicans
  • 40% of independents
  • 40% of men
  • 28% of women
  • 42% of Los Angeles residents
  • 22% of San Francisco/Bay Area residents

Prop 27 does come out on top in two demographic groups. Likely voters age 18 to 44 approve the measure at 52% while 51% of renters would vote yes.

The lack of support for Prop 27 comes despite 68% of Californians saying that homelessness is a big problem. Sportsbook operators backing Prop 27 frame their campaign as a solution to homelessness. The initiative earmarks 85% of online sports betting tax revenue to homeless services and mental health programs.

Findings of the report were based on a survey of 1,705 California adult residents conducted between Sept. 2 and 11.

Results align closely with previous tribal polling

This polling is significant as the first major independent survey done of California voters on Prop 27.

The Public Policy Institute of California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank. Its mission is to inform and improve public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research.

Previous polling by the two tribal-backed No on 27 campaigns showed low support for the online sports betting proposition. However, the Yes on 27 campaign offered a more rosy picture.

Until there was an independent poll, it was difficult to know where Prop 27 really stood.

“This poll shows what we’ve known all along, Californians are seeing right through this flawed and deceitful measure,” said Roger Salazar, spokesperson for No on 27, Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming. “Proposition 27 is not about helping the homeless. It’s about 90% of the profits from online sports betting going to large, out-of-state corporations as well as a deceptive attack on tribal sovereignty.”

The PPIC survey aligns closely with early polling released last month by the Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming that supports Prop 26 and opposes Prop 27. The tribal coalition indicated that 58% of respondents would vote no on Prop 27 and 33% yes.

Kathy Fairbanks, the Coalition’s spokesperson, said in a statement:

“This survey confirms what we’ve been seeing for months in our own polling. Despite raising more than $160 million for a deceptive advertising campaign, California voters are clearly not buying what the out-of-state online gambling corporations behind Prop 27 are selling. Voters strongly oppose Prop 27 and its massive expansion of online sports gambling and they do not believe Prop 27 is a ‘solution’ to anything.”

Visit the official PlayCA voter’s guide to learn more about the competing initiatives.

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Matthew Kredell

A fifth-generation Californian, Matthew's reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. After graduating from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Matt started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News. He has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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