With all the debate about language in the city of San Diego’s financial reform ballot measure, now known as Proposition D, a blog in the Sacramento Bee caught my eye.

Two political scientists studied how the presentation of ballot measures affect an election’s outcome. The results were inconclusive, but they indicated the more information people receive about a campaign, the less the ballot measure’s framing mattered.

One of the study’s authors was Vlad Kogan, a former voiceofsandiego.org staffer. I asked him on Twitter what he thought about Prop. D. Here’s his combined response:

People think language matters (and in polls, it clearly does). But it’s all about the campaign. If well known groups come out for/against it, that’s what’s going to matter the most. But for people who won’t pay attention to news/campaign, wording clearly matters.

As an aside, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association formally announced its opposition to the ballot measure today. The opposition was expected as the organization’s chief, Lani Lutar, has spoken against the proposal frequently.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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