Flawed PPIC Poll Likely Overstates Support for Proposition 1

Poll Did Not Use Actual Ballot Title, Failed to Note Costs

Only 51% Think It’s a “Good Time” for a Pricey Bond Like Prop. 1

SACRAMENTO, Dec. 7, 2023 – Opponents of Proposition 1 on the March 5, 2024, ballot said today that a new poll on the measure likely overstates voter support. The poll was released this morning by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Californians Against Proposition 1 issued the following statement:

Today’s new PPIC poll contains critical flaws as a measure of voter opinion on Proposition 1. The question presented to voters in the poll:

  • Does not use the official ballot title and summary;
  • Provides no estimate of annual costs or fiscal impact; and
  • Misleadingly suggests that Prop. 1 “expands … funding” for programs under the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act.

Without an accurate question describing Prop. 1, the PPIC results are more of a reading on support for a fictional, cost-free program that has no negative impacts, tradeoffs or downsides.

In reality, Prop. 1 is neither cost-free nor lacking in negative impacts. Our coalition against the measure exists because Prop. 1 will cut mental health services that are working.

Prop. 1 does not “expand” funding for programs, it forces counties to do much, much more, with less money from MHSA. The state will take $140 million more per year for administrative costs, and Prop. 1 orders counties to spend 30% on housing instead of mental health care. That is why cuts to existing programs are inevitable.

We understand that the official title and summary were not yet available when PPIC put the poll out in the field Nov. 9-16. It is available now (see attachment below). It points to “increased state costs” of $310 million for 30 years to pay back the $6.38 billion bond, plus a “[s]hift [of] roughly $140 million” annually from counties to the state. Voters may have a completely different reaction when they learn of these costs.

The real danger for Prop. 1 is highlighted in a second question in the PPIC poll. The results show only 51% of likely voters think now is a “good time” for the state to issue $6.4 billion in bonds for these purposes.

The PPIC poll found Republicans supporting the general concept of Proposition 1 at the rate of 40%, and self-described “conservative” voters supporting it at the rate of 45%. Given that Prop. 1 is Governor Gavin Newsom’s personal pet project, it seems fanciful to believe he will garner nearly half of Republican and conservative voters next year. Indeed, Republican and conservative voters were far less likely to say now is a “good time” for this bond measure (24% and 27%, respectively).

Republican legislative leaders Sen. Brian Jones (R-San Diego) and Assembly Member Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach) have signed the ballot pamphlet argument against Prop. 1, along with mental health advocacy groups. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association opposes the measure and is listed on the official ballot label that will appear next to “yes” and “no” when voters cast their ballots.

The opposing argument for the voter pamphlet calls Prop. 1 “a nightmare for taxpayers, cities and counties, and people with mental illness,” labeling the measure “huge, expensive, and destructive.”

Another argument submitted by opponents for the voter pamphlet (rebuttal to main argument in favor) warns of “EXTREME DAMAGE to existing mental healthcare programs… Current MHSA programs are a LIFELINE for under-served communities and people without insurance. Many of these services WON’T SURVIVE Prop. 1’s cuts.”

The rebuttal argument concludes: “Prop. 1 doesn’t ‘fix’ a broken system, it BREAKS something that’s WORKING: the MHSA. DON’T RAID current mental health programs to pay for Prop. 1. Please vote NO!”


Californians Against Proposition 1 is a broad, nonpartisan coalition of people, including those who provide and receive local and statewide mental health services. We are concerned with the many issues raised by the proposition, from the bond itself to the many complex changes to the state’s system of delivery of services to vulnerable, and often marginalized, populations.


The following ballot materials were drafted by the Attorney General and made available by the Secretary of State. They became available Nov. 21, after the PPIC poll was fielded.



Authorizes $6.38 billion in state general obligation bonds for mental health treatment facilities ($4.4 billion) and supportive housing for homeless veterans and homeless individuals with behavioral health challenges ($2 billion).

Amends Mental Health Services Act to:

o Allow funding to be used to treat substance use disorders (instead of only mental health disorders);

o Re-allocate funding for full-service treatment programs, other behavioral health services (e.g., early intervention), and housing programs;

o Require annual audits of programs.

Summary of Legislative Analyst's Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:

Shift roughly $140 million annually of existing tax revenue for mental health, drug, and alcohol treatment from counties to the state.

Increased state costs to repay bonds of about $310 million annually for 30 years. These bond funds would be used to build (1) more places where people can get mental health care and drug or alcohol treatment and (2) more housing for people with mental health, drug, or alcohol challenges.