Thursday, February 20, 2014

Poll says Bay Area residents favor soda tax

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Supporters of San Francisco's proposed sugary beverage tax for the November ballot are applauding the results of a poll released Thursday that shows 78 percent of Bay Area residents favor a soda tax to fund school nutrition and physical activity programs.

The main proponents of the measure, Supervisors Malia Cohen, Eric Mar and Scott Wiener, issued a joint statement on the poll results, which was conducted by The Field Poll and funded by the California Endowment.

"These poll results make it clear that soda tax measures that address our epidemic of diabetes -- like the one we have introduced in San Francisco -- have broad and deep support," they said. "San Francisco residents understand the negative impacts these drinks have on our public health, and that by directing the proceeds from this tax to fund nutrition, health and physical activity programs, we can fight for a healthier San Francisco."

The poll was intended to be a statewide poll and the sample size for the Bay Area region was about 200 of the total 1,002 statewide poll participants. The smaller the sample size the greater the margin of error, but it does indicate much more support than a poll released earlier this week by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. The chamber's poll of support of the proposed 2-cents-an-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages found 51 percent of respondents supported it while 47 percent opposed the idea.

It would take two-thirds of voters to pass it since the money from the tax would be earmarked for nutrition and physical activity programs.

Statewide, the poll found 67 percent supported a tax on soda sales, consistent with a poll in 2012 that found 68 supported it.

The poll also found that there was 74 percent support to require beverage companies to post a health-warning label on sodas and sugary drinks to alert consumers that their daily consumption contributes to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay.

Additionally, the poll found voters would favor prohibiting the use of food stamps to buy sodas and other sugary beverages.

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