The State of California is considering re-funding its stem cell agency, CIRM, to the tune of more than $5 billion dollars, but the issue has generated surprisingly little media attention. The main coverage has been by David Jensen over at California Stem Cell Report.
Prop 14 polling data non-existent in public domain
To my knowledge, there are also no poll results in the public domain about how California voters feel about Proposition 14, which is the measure that would give the stem cell agency that additional round of funding. In part for that reason, I’ve been doing polling here on The Niche about both whether people think the agency should be re-funded and then whether they think it will be re-funded by Prop 14.
I first did this polling back in January. A few weeks earlier than that in December 2019 I had predicted in my yearly 20 stem cell predictions (see here) for the new year that CIRM would be re-funded but by a narrow vote.
Will CIRM be funded?
Now, I’ve done the CIRM polling again in late September – early October, and I’m a little surprised at the results. (By the way, you can keep voting). I had thought that the pandemic and major economic consequences might have made respondents much more pessimistic.
You can see the January vs. newer Fall polling above. What struck me is how similar the results are. While none of the response options got a majority of votes, in both cases a plurality believe CIRM will be funded again. At most, respondents now are only a little less upbeat about that possibility.
The high-profile supporters of Prop 14 include Lauren and Seth Rogen.
There is a humorous pro-Prop 14 video up where Seth plays a stem cell in favor of CIRM’s efforts and the new funding.
Californians for Cures, the main group behind the proposition, has just started a major social media campaign including email blasts in the last few days.
You can see a logo from one of the emails above.
Should CIRM be funded?
Going back to the polling, perhaps not too surprisingly, respondents to both polls here on The Niche about whether CIRM should be funded (irrespective of what you think will happen) were very pro-CIRM. You can see those response outcomes by clicking on the links earlier in the post.
Note that this polling is not scientific and as mentioned above, The Niche readership (see my recent survey of the backgrounds of our readership here) is probably more pro-CIRM than average and it is not likely to be representative of California as a whole.
It’s still worthwhile to see how an engaged audience like ours feels about the future of the stem cell agency.