Two Health Care Ballot Measure Campaigns Blitz State with Nearly 4,000 Television Ads

Between September 13 and October 3, supporters and opponents of two California health care ballot measures spent an estimated $4.8 million to bombard voters in the state’s five largest media markets with 3,756 television ads, according to In both cases, however, nearly all of this money has been spent by one side.

The proponents of Proposition 71 (“Yes” on funding and regulating stem cell research) have spent an estimated $2.1 million on five different television ads that aired an estimated 1,389 times. The opponents of Prop. 71 have not yet run any television ads.

The opponents of Proposition 72 (“No” on the referendum concerning the Health Insurance Act of 2003 [SB 2]) have spent an estimated $2.7 million on two different TV ads that aired an estimated 2,367 times. The proponents of Prop. 72 have only recently joined the ad race; their first ad aired on October 4. reports that these two campaigns have beamed the most ads—an estimated 946 (or 25 percent of the statewide total)—to Los Angeles area voters: 363 for Prop. 71 and 583 against Prop. 72. The ads have aired in San Francisco an estimated 870 times; San Diego 773 times; Sacramento 682 times; and Fresno 485 times. In terms of money, however, the campaigns have spent 49% of their TV money in the Los Angeles market; 26% in San Francisco; 12% in San Diego; 9% in Sacramento; and 3.6% in Fresno.

Los Angeles voters, however, did not see one ad shown to the rest of the state. The ad featuring Dr. Paul Berg urging a “Yes” vote on Prop. 71 aired in Fresno an estimated 19 times; San Diego 29 times; and San Francisco 42 times; but not once in Los Angeles.

Three other health — related measures on the California ballot—Prop. 61 (funding for children’s hospital projects), Prop. 63 (funding for expansion of mental health services), and Prop. 67 (funding for uncompensated emergency services) — have not generated any TV ads to date.

Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, noted that “California voters should expect to see a blizzard of 30-second TV ads on a number of ballot measures in the days before the November 2 election.”

To view all the ads run in favor of or against the health-related measures and to see their estimated costs, visit Ad Watch at is a Web site sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation and the Center for Governmental Studies. It provides non-partisan detailed voter information about this November’s five health-related ballot propositions. TV spending and exposure data were compiled in the top five media markets in California (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and Fresno) by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, a company that tracks television advertising across the country.

About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.