Washington State Polls Show Declining Support for GMO Labeling

With just two weeks before the polls close on Washington’s Initiative 522, a new poll released by the KING 5 news team shows that only 45% of those surveyed plan to vote in favor of the labeling bill, with 38% opposing it and 16% still undecided.

Now that the so-called Monsanto Protection Act language has been purged from a federal bill, it seems that GMO producers are taking to the states and using their considerable influence to carve out protections in various piece of state-level legislation.

As Politico reported this morning:

SUPPORT SLIPPING FOR GMO LABELING IN WASHINGTON: It’s Déjà vu all over again. Just like the polls in California showed the pro-GMO labeling movement slipping right before the final vote last November, the polls in Washington State are showing a similar decline. With now less than two weeks to go until ballots must be returned, a poll of 546 likely Washington State voters, conducted by SurveyUSA for KING 5 News, found that 45 percent plan to vote yes on I-522, while 35 percent are opposed. The remaining 16 percent said they were uncertain. While the sampling size is small, those numbers are consistent with the results of an Elway Poll released Monday that found 46 percent of voters plan to cast a ballot for I-522, while 42 percent say they will oppose it and 12 percent are undecided. All voting in Washington is done by absentee ballots, which were delivered Oct. 18 and must be returned by Nov. 5. The KING 5 News poll is available here: http://bit.ly/17eaYZG

 The shift in popular opinion may be further aided by opposition to the measure from many of the state’s major newspapers. The Spokesman-Review and The Olympian, two influential state newspapers, published editorials yesterday urging voters to reject I-522. The editorials are available here: http://bit.ly/1acgoCY, and here: http://bit.ly/1859drv

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: However, proponents of I-522 are still in the fight.  While the Yes on I-522 coalition has been outspent almost three-to-one by opponents, supporters are seeking legal action to gain greater disclosure by the No on 1-522 of the source of its funds — and the state’s attorney general seems to be backing those concerns. Though the Grocery manufacturers Association voluntarily disclosed the corporate contributors to its more than $7.2 million in donations to No on I-522 on Friday, Attorney General Bob Ferguson is moving forward with his Oct. 16 lawsuit against the group, seeking penalties for the time the group was in violation of state campaign laws.

 “Disclosure is just one remedy we sought in the lawsuit we filed last Wednesday. We also continue to seek penalties, attorney’s fees, and other relief for violating the Washington State campaign disclosure laws. While the GMA made the requested disclosures, there must be sanctions for violating the law and the case will move forward as filed,” Ferguson says in a statement.

 And pro-I-522 group Moms for Labeling is asking a judge of the Superior Court of the State of Washington For Thurston County, located in Olympia, to require No on I-522 to name the top corporate donors to GMA’s contribution to the group in television ads, blocking their broadcast until the change is made.  The complaint is available here: http://politico.pro/1bVunMB

Both sides of this debate have spent millions on advertising and advocacy campaigns, as well as lobbying efforts. We are eagerly awaiting November 5th, when votes will be tallied and a winner decided.

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