The No New Taxes, No on Prop 204 campaign has collected nearly $900,000 in October alone.
But the “yes” campaign still outraised the opposition — thanks to huge infusions of funds from teachers’ unions and the construction industry’s political arm, campaign finance reports showed.
The initiative, which seeks to replace a temporary tax increase of the same amount that is scheduled to expire next year, is expected to raise $1 billion annually.
The bulk of the funds will go to schools. About $100 million each is also set aside for welfare programs and for road construction.
Quality Education and Jobs, the group behind the one-cent initiative, raised $965,000 in October, its report of big-dollar contributions showed.
A big chunk of the money came from the National Education Association, which forked out $200,000 on Oct. 19. The latest amount brought the national union’s total contribution to $450,000.
We Build Arizona, a coalition of construction and design-related companies, gave another $365,000 in October.
The Arizona Education Association, the state’s biggest teacher union, also contributed $50,000.
But the robust fundraising has been overshadowed by two polls showing that Proposition 204, the one-cent initiative, is headed for defeat.
A poll commissioned by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry said 58 percent of respondents opposed the initiative while only roughly 35 percent supported it.
This poll, however, was criticized for erroneously referring to Prop. 204 as a constitutional amendment. The initiative’s supporter surmised this could have swayed respondents to say “no.”
But a recent Rasmussen poll also showed the opposition to be well ahead, 50 to 42 percent.
Kurt Davis, a Republican political consultant, said the “yes” campaign is in a “free fall.”
“The only question is did they squander a 30-point lead or not. Does the election come too soon vis-à-vis the free fall?” Davis said.
But Ann-Eve Pedersen, chairwoman of Quality Education and Jobs, flatly rejected the notion that her campaign is losing momentum.
“Our momentum is fabulous,” she said.
“If they would join us for the thousands of phone calls that we’re making, the thousands of doors that we’re knocking on, they would see that there’s widespread support for this,” Pedersen said, adding the “no” campaign has “no grassroots outreach whatsoever.”
Meanwhile, the Americans for Responsible Leadership, a group led by Republican businessman Robert Graham, contributed another $250,000 to the “no” campaign.
That’s in addition to the $500,000 the group gave last month, making Americans for Responsible Leadership the single biggest funder of the opposition to Prop 204.
The United Dairymen of Arizona also gave $15,000 a few days ago.