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Despite Massive Ad Spending by Tech Companies, California’s Prop 22 Might Not Win

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How will you vote in the battle to deny delivery drivers employee protections?

California’s most expensive ballot measure, ever, is too close to call
Right: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images Left: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

It’s official: Proposition 22, the measure proposed by a consortium of tech companies including DoorDash, Uber, Postmates, and Instacart, is the most expensive ballot race in California history. So far, the ride hail and food delivery companies have poured nearly $200 million into their campaign to deny drivers and delivery workers employee protections, and to instead continue to classify them as independent contractors.

Despite this massive expenditure, recent polling suggests that the race remains a close one: According to a poll released on October 26 from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, 42 percent of likely voters oppose Prop 22, 46 percent approve it, and 12 remain undecided (you can see the full results of the poll here).

For the measure to pass, it must win by a 50-percent-plus-one margin, which is likely why, in recent days, Californians have been deluged with ads in support of the bill (this correspondent can recite the “as a mom of four, I can’t work a full time job” commercial from memory, it’s true). According to the Wall Street Journal, the Yes on Prop 22 campaign “is on track to spend more than $82 million on television and radio ads” by November 3. Other expenditures include a $2 million donation to California’s Republican party, as well as smaller but still notable donations to the Republican parties in Ventura County and Santa Clara County.

In contrast, the workers and labor groups that oppose Prop 22 have raised about $19 million in total, $11 million of which will go to advertising. That said, the measure’s opponents don’t expect to keep up. Speaking with the WSJ, Steve Smith, a spokesman for the California Labor Federation and the No on 22 campaign, says “Just the sheer volume of messaging [Prop 22’s supporters are] able to get out through television is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

That final advertising sprint makes sense. According to pollster Mark DiCamillo, who also oversaw Berkeley’s September poll on the measure, “The relatively large proportions of undecided voters in both polls suggest that many voters were having a difficult time reaching a final decision on this initiative. How these late-deciding voters ultimately come to judgment will likely determine its fate.”

Assuming that you remain undecided, there are several non-partisan sources you can use to make up your mind:

And now that you’re armed with all that information...

Poll

How will you vote on Prop 22?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    I am voting for it
    (661 votes)
  • 63%
    I am voting against it
    (1260 votes)
  • 3%
    I haven’t decided yet
    (69 votes)
1990 votes total Vote Now

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