Measure Pushed by Uber, Lyft Falling Short of Passage, Poll Says – But Many Voters Still Undecided

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A ride-hailing vehicle is seen during an August demonstration in Los Angeles against Proposition 22, a measure that would exempt Uber and Lyft and other gig companies from treating workers as employees rather than independent contractors.  (Robyn Beck/AFP-Getty Images)

After spending nearly $200 million to carve out a state labor law exemption for their app-based workers, companies like Uber, Lyft and Instacart are just short of selling a majority of voters on Proposition 22, according to a new Berkeley IGS Poll.

The survey finds that 46% of likely voters support allowing those companies to treat their drivers and delivery workers as independent contractors rather than employees, and 42% say they are opposed to it. Twelve percent of voters say they are undecided, suggesting perhaps some confusion about the somewhat complicated ballot measure.

Since the IGS poll in mid-September, the measure has gained both support and opposition, while the percentage of undecided voters has fallen. That poll five weeks ago found 39% of likely voters supporting Prop. 22 and 36% on the No side, with 25% undecided.

The measure pits companies in the gig economy against organized labor, which is opposing Proposition 22. However, opponents have raised just one-tenth what the high tech companies behind the measure have spent — so far.

The poll found wide differences between subgroups of the electorate. Republicans, nonunion households and older voters were most likely to support Prop. 22. Democrats and voters under the age of 39 were most strongly opposed to it.

Among different racial groups, Black voters are mostly likely to support Prop. 22 while Asian and Latinx voters are evenly divided.

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Another closely contested measure is Proposition 15, which would fundamentally change Proposition 13, California's landmark 1978 constitutional amendment controlling the way property taxes are calculated. Prop. 15 would create a so-called “split roll,” reassessing most commercial and industrial property and taxing it based on current market value rather than its previous purchase price.

The IGS poll found support for Prop. 15 at 49%, exactly where it was in the mid-September survey. However opposition has grown, from 34% to 42% in the last poll, with 9% of likely voters saying they’re undecided.

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Supporters of Prop. 15 say it would prevent corporations from avoiding reassessments even when a property changes hands and have them pay their “fair share” of taxes. Opponents, led by business groups, argue that the middle of a recession is not the time to raise taxes on businesses that are already struggling.

If passed, Prop. 15 would generate between $6.5 billion and $11.5 billion in new revenue, with 60% going to local governments and 40% going to public schools. In the survey, Democrats overwhelmingly support Prop. 15 while 85% of Republicans oppose it. Independent or “no party preference” voters support it by 49% Yes to 39% No, with 12% undecided.

Two other ballot measures — Prop. 16, to end the state's ban on affirmative action, and Prop. 21, to expand rent control — are trailing significantly in the IGS poll. Just 38% of likely voters support Prop. 16, while 49% are opposed. 13% remain undecided.

Similarly on the rent control question, 37% of likely voters support Prop. 21 while 48% say they will vote no. Fifteen percent are undecided.

The poll was administered online in English and Spanish Oct. 16 to Oct. 21 among 6,686 registered voters, including 5,352 considered likely to or to have already voted. Berkeley IGS says the results are accurate within plus/minus 2 percentage points.