Both Sides In GMO Labeling Initiative See Positives In Recent Poll

By Steve Jackson

Both sides in the debate over an initiative to require labeling of genetically modified foods say results of a recent Seattle poll are promising. Support for I-522 is leading in polls, over the 'No' campaign, but the gap appears to have narrowed.

A Stuart Elway Poll taken last week showed the yes-votes leading the no-votes by 46% to 42%, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5%. 'Yes on I-522' campaign spokesperson Elizabeth Larter says the numbers are promising.

Larter: "Last year at this time, California had a similar measure called Prop 37, and that was actually losing in the polls this same time last year. And they were being outspent the same ratio as we are here in Washington. And yet we are winning here, and I think that is a very encouraging sign.”

But the numbers actually show dramatic decrease in the amount of support -- about 40% -- since the massive advertising campaign started about six weeks ago. Dana Bieber is with the 'No on I-522' campaign.

Bieber: “The more people find out about I-522 and they find out how costly and misleading and unfair it is the less they like it. And I think that’s why the support has swung so much and there is so much less support then there was six weeks ago.”

The opposition campaign has spent a record $22 million, compared to $7.8 million from the 'Yes on 522' campaign. The Elway poll found that voter participation could play a major role. The measure was trailing 46-44% with “perfect” voters, who participated in all four of the last elections, but leading 49-37% for voters who have voted less than half the time.

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