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Poll: Moderate Republicans reject Prop. 23

November 2, 2010 |  6:07 pm

Lba3rxnc Around the country, global warming has become a flashpoint for Republicans running for election.  "Tea party" activists have also focused on climate change legislation as an ideological and economic wedge issue.

But in California, moderate and liberal Republicans are rejecting Proposition 23, the measure to suspend the state's ambitious law to limit greenhouse gas emissions, by a margin of 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. The margin among that group is 46% in favor and 33% opposed.

"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."

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

In California, Proposition 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 Ronald Reagan's secretary of state, and by a businessman, San Francisco hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.

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

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 one in five 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.)

Initiative proponents declined to share their polling results.

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'

Photos: California heads to the polls

Photos: The nation heads to the polls

-- 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

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