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Prop. 23 shows a bipartisan divide

November 2, 2010 |  6:36 pm

Lba3rxnc Moderate and liberal Republicans are rejecting Prop. 23, the ballot measure to suspend the state's ambitious law to limit greenhouse gas emissions, by 44% to 36%, according to election tracking by the No on 23 campaign.

And overall, a third of Republican women of all ideological persuasions said they are voting against the ballot initiative, according to the tracking polls. That group is polling 46% in favor and 33% opposed.

The bipartisanship around the climate change issue offers a sharp contrast to the strong divide around the country. In other states, global warming has become a flashpoint  with Republican candidates hammering Democratic opponents for their votes in favor of federal energy legislation to curb greenhouse gases.  "Tea party" activists have also focused on global warming as an ideological and economic wedge issue.

Although a majority of Republicans support Prop. 23, the fact that the GOP vote seems divided was positive news to the initiative's opponents. "It's significant in that it shows that this was not a solid party-line vote like it is in Washington, D.C.," said Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for the No campaign. "The new coalition for clean energy is broad and bipartisan."

Initiative proponents declined to share their polling.

Federal climate change legislation narrowly passed the U.S. House last spring, but was rejected on a party-line vote in the Senate, with Republicans blocking Democrats' efforts to pass an energy bill curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

In California, Prop. 23 was supported by a coalition of oil refiners, the California Manufacturers and Technology Assn. and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.  However, the No campaign avoided being tarred as merely a liberal, environmentalist cause. It was co-chaired by Republican, George Shultz, who was secretary of state under Ronald Reagan, and by a businessman, San Francisco hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.

Technology company executives, including Microsoft's Bill Gates and John Doerr, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, contributed millions of dollars to defeat the measure, outspending  proponents 3 to 1.

No on 23 tracking polls showed that  28% of the voters who supported GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and GOP senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina opposed the measure. (Whitman voters were 59% to 28%; Fiorina voters were 58% to 28%.

In contrast, fewer than 1 in 5 voters for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown or Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer  are voting yes. Two-thirds of each are voting no (19% to 67% among Brown voters, 18% to 69% among Boxer voters.)

RELATED:

Prop 26: A new strategy for big oil companies?

Why did Valero launch a campaign against California's global warming law?

Obama: 'No on Prop 23 and corporate polluters'

-- Margot Roosevelt 

Photo: Rachel Distler, a USC sophomore, urges fellow student Greg Albrecht, right, to vote "No" on Proposition 23, a measure to suspend California's global warming law that was sponsored by Texas oil refiners, and Proposition 26, a measure to require a two-thirds vote of elected officials, rather than a simple majority, to enact most industry fees.  College students working with CALPIRG and Environment California were at campuses across the state on election day, including USC's Marks Tower polling place, to organize the youth vote against Propositions 23 and 26. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Photos: California heads to the polls

Photos: The nation heads to the polls

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