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New poll numbers aren’t looking good for anti-development ballot measure

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Only 37 percent would vote yes

Backers of the anti-development Neighborhood Integrity Initiative submitted nearly 104,000 signatures to the City Clerk’s office last week to put their controversial measure on March ballot. But a new poll suggests the initiative's supporters still have some work to do in selling it to the two-thirds of voters required for it to pass.

As LAist reports, that poll—funded by opponents of the NII and administered by the research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates—found only 37 percent of prospective voters say they are in favor of the measure; 44 percent oppose it (19 percent have yet to make up their minds).

Mike Shimpock, who heads the Coalition to Protect Los Angeles Neighborhoods and Jobs—the group that commissioned the poll, tells Curbed that the poll was conducted in May using the same language that appeared on the petitions allowing the measure to appear on the ballot. Pollsters surveyed 800 randomly selected likely Los Angeles voters and estimate the poll's margin of error to be 3.6 percent.

The new poll is very much at odds with one that backers of the NII put together last year showing that the ballot measure enjoyed about 72 percent approval among eligible voters. Another poll administered in April found a similar amount of support for the initiative.

Shimpock says he's skeptical about the accuracy of those polls due to the methodology with which they were administered. He points out that the polls were conducted online with no process for verifying the identity of respondents and argues that the language used in the poll was misleading.

If passed, the ballot measure would freeze most major development projects for two years and force city officials to strictly adhere to current zoning laws until the decades-old general plan can be updated.

Resistance to the measure appears to be growing in recent months. The CPLANJ, which formed in opposition to the initiative, raised more than $720,000 in the second quarter of 2016. Last week, a coalition of homeless advocates including the leaders of Skid Row Housing Trust, United Way of Los Angeles, and the Downtown Women’s Center released a statement formally opposing the measure on the grounds that its moratorium on development would worsen the city’s growing homelessness crisis.

Of course, supporters of the NII have a few allies of their own, including an impressive list of A-list celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Kirsten Dunst, Chris Pine, and Joaquin Phoenix. That’s a great cast for a future ensemble piece; we’ll see if it’s enough to sway voters in March.