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State voters would now reject high-speed rail project, poll shows

December 6, 2011 |  7:36 am

High speed rail

This post has been corrected. Please see the note at the bottom for details.

A clear majority of Californians would reject the state’s high-speed rail project if there was a second chance to vote on it, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The new poll of registered voters by Field Research Corp. in San Francisco shows that 64% of those surveyed want another vote on the $98-billion project and that 59% would oppose it if another vote were taken.

The fact that its projected cost has tripled and the construction deadline has been extended to 2033 were cited as reasons for opposing it.

“If there were a re-vote, its chances of passage given this poll are not very good,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.

Voters originally approved the project when they passed Proposition 1A in November 2008. The ballot measure also authorized $9 billion in state bonds to help fund a 520-mile high-speed rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Of those who voted for the project in 2008, the Field Poll indicated that 53% would still do so, 37% would say no, and 10% are undecided.

The results are similar to those released earlier this year by Probolsky Research, a polling firm specializing in government and politics based in Newport Beach. Its survey found that 62.4% of likely voters in California would reject the project if given a second chance to vote on it.

The project also came in last in a list of voters’ spending priorities.

Both polls differ, however, from a survey released in July 2010 by the California High Speed Rail Authority. The poll by Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Public Opinion Strategies found that 76% of Californians supported the project, including 34% who wanted high-speed rail to proceed as quickly as possible.

[For the record, Dec. 6, 9:29 a.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly identified Probolsky Research as GOP pollster Adam Probolsky based in Irvine.]

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-- Dan Weikel

Photo: Artist's depiction of a depot in a future California high-speed rail system. Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority.

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