Even Many GOP Voters Oppose Prop. 23

by CalWatchdog Staff | November 1, 2010 9:36 am

NOV. 1, 2010

The California Field Poll, reportedly one of the most accurate public opinion polls in the U.S., indicates that about one third or more of Republicans are tending to vote in favor of Green Power and Green jobs (or against Prop 23, which would put a halt to the state’s Green Power Law until unemployment improved).

Seventy eight percent  of registered Democrats are voting for Green Power and green jobs while remarkably 38 percent of even Republicans are in favor of it.  Even 31 percent of Tea Party-affiliated Republicans are in favor of not stopping California’s Green Power law.  California’s Green Power law is a regressive tax that would raise electricity rates by as much as 40 percent or more and would increase water rates significantly due to the fact that the largest part of water bills are for electricity to pump water.  Water-related energy use consumes about 19 percent of the state’s electricity[1].[2]

Environmentalism, as reflected in a NO Vote on Prop 23, still tends to be more favored by affluent voters while more moderate-income Vietnamese and Latinos are 50-50 split on the proposition.  However, African-Americans are voting for Green Power and green jobs about as evenly as white voters, probably due to the promise of jobs.

The only apparent wild card in the early polling data is that independent and unaffiliated voters conceivably could swing Prop 23, but it would nearly take all of them to do so, an unlikely possibility.

2010 is a year where angry voters may be voting no across the board on all the propositions, perhaps not realizing that a NO vote on Prop 23 is a YES vote for Green Power. When voters are confused about complicated ballot initiatives they typically vote no on them.

The ballot argument for Green Power (against Prop 23) in the state voter pamphlet includes wording that “Texas oil companies” are opposed to Green Power and jobs in California.

But the voter pamphlet failed to fairly report that a CalPERS hedge fund manager heavily invested in dirty coal, nukes, and oil and gas companies in Texas donated $5 million in support of the Green Power Law and jobs (and against Prop 23).  Also not included in the ballot argument is that the major donor in support of Green Power and jobs (against Prop 23) is invested in stocks in a Chinese solar panel company that will outsource manufacturing jobs to China, not California. California may not be getting as many Green jobs as advertised.  Read here[3].

Conversely, the ballot argument in favor of Prop 23 (and against Green Power) failed to educate voters that it is likely that jobs in the conventional peak power segment of the energy industry are likely to be lost once Green Power can trump conventional power in the spot energy market and peak time submarket.  Green Power typically costs about four times the price of conventional energy (coal, oil, gas, hydro) and thus it can only compete in the higher-priced peak time power segment of the market.  Many cities, water districts, and private companies own and operate peaker plants that may be adversely affected by California’s Green Power Law, including loss of jobs.

The ballots arguments in favor of Prop. 23 (and against Green Power) also failed to educate the voters that California Green Power law protects oil and gas companies from having to compete any longer with the cheapest sources of energy which are coal and hydropower.  So oil and gas companies and stocks should reap a windfall if Prop. 23 fails to pass (and California’s Green Power law is not stopped).  Without coal and hydropower to keep energy prices down the price of oil and gas will likely spike sometime after 2012 when the Green Power law goes into effect.  Markets are quirky and we will see what happens with electricity rates once the cheapest sources of energy, coal and hydropower, are embargoed by California’s Green Power law sometime after 2012.

Another oddity is that the state voter pamphlet did not explain that California’s Green Power law contains a “cap and trade” provision which means that there will be no net reduction in air pollution from Green Power.  This is because energy companies can reduce pollution but trade credits to other energy providers to continue to pollute, especially in highly populated urban air basins which trap smog and pollution.

The last time California did something like this was in late 2001 when it mothballed old polluting oil-powered plants generating cheap electricity along the California coastline in order to meet EPA clean air mandates and shifted to cleaner, but higher cost, natural gas power plants.  This was called “the California Energy Crisis.”

  1. Water-related energy use consumes about 19 percent of the state’s electricity: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2005publications/CEC-700-2005-011/CEC-700-2005-011-SF.PDF
  2. : http://www.energy.ca.gov/2005publications/CEC-700-2005-011/CEC-700-2005-011-SF.PDF
  3. Read here: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2010/10/28/prop-23-foe-profits-from-dirty-coal/

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2010/11/01/even-many-gop-voters-oppose-prop-23/