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Early poll shows strong support for GMO food labels

Early polling shows strong support for a measure likely to appear on Oregon's November ballot requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods.

A new poll for EarthFix of Oregon residents puts support for labeling genetically engineered foods at 77 percent.

DHM Research Director John Horvick said similarly overwhelming support was found in Washington and Idaho during their three-state poll. Four hundred residents per state were polled between June 25-30. The margin of error for each state’s results was 4.9 percent.

The survey asked residents if they would support or oppose a ballot measure requiring labeling on raw and packaged food that is genetically engineered. It found 69-percent support among Washington residents — in contrast to the 45-percent support among voters in the November, 2013 election, when a measure to require labeling genetically modified food was defeated in that state.

The same pattern — strong support at the start of the campaign — played out in 2012 with California’s food-labeling measure, which eventually lost.

“We now have two states — Washington last year and California the year before – where they saw polling numbers like this, not that far before an election, and then saw things change quickly,” Horvick said.

Horvick said that a well-funded anti-labeling campaign largely influenced the election outcome in those two states. Some big-name national contributors included biotech firms Monsanto and Syngenta.