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Survey shows support for wage hike, opposition to food labels

Voters appear ready to increase the minimum wage in November, don't like a proposal requiring labels for genetically modified food and seem uncertain about expanding health care coverage.

Those are some of the results of a new statewide poll conducted for the Portland Tribune. Here is a look at what the poll showed about three statewide ballot measures:

• Measure 25: Voters seem to like the plan to raise the state minimum wage on Jan. 1 from $6.50 to $6.90 an hour. It also would provide annual increases keyed to inflation.

The poll showed 67 percent of respondents in favor, with 24 opposed and 9 percent undecided. Support crossed all gender and partisan lines. Republicans liked the measure 52 percent to 40 percent and unaffiliated voters were in support 65 percent to 23 percent.

The Coalition to Raise the Minimum Wage has raised more than $148,000 to support the proposal, while the opponents, Save Oregon Jobs, have collected $5,100.

• Measure 27: This measure would require labeling of foods that have been genetically engineered, the first such ballot measure anywhere.

Voters, however, don't seem impressed. The poll showed that 48 percent of respondents were opposed to the measure with 34 percent in favor and 18 percent undecided. Young voters were more likely to favor it, while older voters were more likely to oppose it.

Several big food and biotechnology companies oppose the measure, fearing consumers would see labels as warnings. The opponents have raised more than $4.6 million, much of it from General Mills Inc., PepsiCo Inc. and NestlŽ USA. Supporters have collected nearly $26,000.

• Measure 23: The proposal would provide health care coverage for all Oregonians under the single-payer system, similar to the system used in Canada.

The poll showed 39 percent opposed, 36 percent in favor and 25 percent undecided. Women and Democrats were more likely to support the proposal with unaffiliated voters opposed, 38 to 33 percent.

Opponents of the measure have raised more than $402,000, most of it from health care providers including Kaiser Permanente, ODS Health Plans and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. Supporters have collected about $22,000.

Ñ Don Hamilton