Poll: California’s Prop. 22 to keep Uber, Lyft drivers as contractors falling short – San Francisco Chronicle

With only eight days until the election. Proposition 22, the megabucks measure from Uber, Lyft and other gig companies to keep their workers as independent contractors, is running shy of the 50%-plus-one margin it needs to pass, according to an independent poll released Monday.

The Berkeley IGS poll showed that 46% of likely voters polled support Prop 22, while 42% oppose it and 12% were undecided. The Yes side has won more converts since a mid-September poll, which found 39% supporting it and 26% against it, with 25% undecided, it said.

“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,” Mark DiCamillo, director of the Berkeley IGS Poll, wrote in a report. “How these late deciding voters ultimately come to judgement will likely determine its fate.”

Across the state, the Bay Area was the region most opposed to Prop 22, DeCamillo wrote. It trails by 20 points here.

Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates have raised nearly $200 million so far to promote Prop 22, which they see as crucial to their future. Organized labor, which opposes Prop 22, has raised just over $19 million.

“Money doesn’t buy one’s side love in a ballot measure contest,” said David McCuan, a professor of political science at Sonoma State and expert on California referendums. “It just buys exposure.”

Prop 22 has indeed had plenty of exposure, with a barrage of TV ads, mailers and texts — as well as in-app ads for drivers and riders. The latter prompted a lawsuit last week by some Uber drivers who said the company was bullying them into supporting Prop 22.

In general, it’s harder for measures to pass, because many people vote “No” when in doubt, McCuan said. “This is a monumental battle that comes down to the wire,” he said.

The Yes on 22 campaign said its internal tracking showed support growing.

“The voters understand the stakes are enormous for the nearly one million drivers who need Prop 22 to save their jobs and for the millions of California families who rely on app-based services for safe deliveries and transportation,” said Geoff Vetter, spokesman for the campaign.

On the other side, Gig Workers Rising, a drivers’ group that opposes Prop 22, celebrated the race being so tight despite the gig companies’ vast funding.

“Even those millions aren’t working as intended,” it said in a statement. “For Prop. 22 to be so close to defeat, with a 10-1 funding advantage, should be deeply embarrassing for these multi-billion dollar companies, and heartening for drivers and workers across California.”

Carolyn Said is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: csaid@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @csaid

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