Did CA Proposition Donations Make a Difference?

Over $400 million was donated to California’s 11 propositions on this year’s ballot. Did it sway voters’ decisions?

Californians had the opportunity to vote on 11 ballot measures determining everything from the state’s fate regarding education funding to the death penalty.

But they didn’t have to make the decision alone. Interest groups and individuals spent millions of dollars trying to persuade voters to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on the nearly one dozen propositions.

But did it make a difference?

Maplight, a nonpartisan guide to ballot measures, has tracked all the donations given to the 11 Proposition campaigns. 

Click on the links to see a breakdown of who funded each Proposition. (The side with more donations is bolded.)

Oppose Support Grand Total Passed? Prop. 30Temporary Taxes to Fund State Programs  $52,755,441.41  $61,830,717.48  $114,586,158.89 Yes Prop. 31State Budget  $395,009.59  $4,358,218.34  $4,753,227.93 No Prop. 32Political Contributions  $68,811,264.19  $59,437,052.82  $128,248,317.01 No Prop. 33Auto Insurance Rates  $222,785.02  $16,588,381.47  $16,811,166.49 No Prop. 34Death Penalty Repeal  $359,899.30  $7,024,630.02  $7,384,529.32 No Prop. 35Human Trafficking/Sex Offender    $3,495,473.59  $3,495,473.59 Yes Prop. 36Three Strikes Law  $118,695.52  $2,556,542.94  $2,675,238.46 Yes Prop. 37Genetically Modified Foods  $41,259,949.48  $7,303,695.19  $48,563,644.67 No Prop. 38Molly Munger’s Tax Proposal  $42,252.31  $47,799,042.34  $47,841,294.65 No Prop. 39Multistate Business Tax  $45,000.00  $30,149,615.12  $30,194,615.12 Yes Prop. 40Redistricting  $2,232,937.20  $600,974.93  $2,833,912.13 Yes Grand Total  $166,243,234.02  $241,144,344.24  $407,387,578.26  


Propositions 30, 35, 36 and 39 passed and had more donations supporting the measure than opposing it, and Propositions 32 and 37 did not pass and had more donations opposing it than supporting it. The remaining five measures 31, 33, 34, 38 and 49 had more donations to the losing side.

Purely looking at the numbers, it is difficult to make a blanket statement that campaign donations win ballot measures.

But what do you think? Tell us in the comments if proposition funding had a large influence on whether a proposition passed or not. 


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