With less than six weeks to go before election day, a ballot initiative to expand rent control in California is falling far short of passage, according to a new poll.
Proposition 10, which would allow cities and counties across the state to implement robust new rent stabilization efforts, has support from 36% of likely voters, with 48% opposed and 16% undecided, a poll released Wednesday from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California said.
Mark Baldassare, the institute’s president and pollster, said proponents of the initiative have significant ground to make up.
“I think it’s very tough,” Baldassare said. “People are apparently not that enthralled with the proposition at this point.”
The poll found soft support across demographics and different regions of the state. A majority of renters, 51%, said they were against the initiative, and 39% of homeowners, who vote more frequently, were in support. Proposition 10 has its strongest backing in the Los Angeles region with 45% in favor.
Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 1995 state law that prohibits local governments from implementing most forms of new rent control. Under the law, cities and counties can’t impose rent control on apartment complexes constructed after 1995 — or earlier in cities such as Los Angeles that had existing rent control ordinances when Costa-Hawkins passed.
The law also blocks local governments from implementing rent controls on single-family homes and gives landlords the right to charge the market rate for their apartments after a rent-controlled tenant moves out.
If Proposition 10 passes, rent control wouldn’t automatically go into effect in most cases, but cities and counties could pass new measures without restriction.
Baldassare said supporters could take some solace that the poll also found that 52% of likely voters believed rent control in general was a good thing. But supporters will probably be substantially outspent by the apartment industry, which he said would make it harder to erase the deficit.
Backers of Proposition 10, predominantly the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, have so far raised more than $13 million, according to the state Fair Political Practices Commission. Landlord opponents have countered with more than $23 million.