The latest Field Poll says that 45% of likely voters oppose Proposition 34 with 42% supporting it. (The margin of error in the poll is ±4.3 points.) This is not a good sign, since the conventional wisdom is that ballot measures typically need to be polling well over 50% in order more than a month before voting happens in order to survive the general bias of voters to reject propositions, especially in the face of an expensive television ad campaign aimed at raising doubts. But Proposition 34 may have a different fate than convention wisdom would indicate because 1) proponents have a huge cash advantage (possibly as high as 10:1) and 2) Most Californians have a pretty fixed view of their opinion about the death penalty and are unlikely to be swayed by a television ad campaign on this matter. In fact, Field goes on to explain in their polling memo on Proposition 34 that it is only very recently that there were pluralities in California that supported life without parole over the death penalty since only recently did people understand how expensive financially the implementation of the death penalty is. It typically takes 25 years from the time a convicted criminal is sentenced to death row that an execution occurs in California. This is due to the fact that every single Capital case must go through the California Supreme Court at some point (and of course there's also the federal court system to consider as well).
By looking at the internals of the polling memo, one good sign is that a majority of Democrats (50%-37%) and Independents (54%-33%) support the measure. (Of course nearly two-thirds of Republicans oppose ending the death penalty since even though Republicans generally hate government, they still think it should have the power to execute its citizens. Go figure!) Since together Democrats and Independents will be a significant majority of the electorate as Republicans are fast becoming an irrelevant party in the state, Proposition 34 still has a reasonable chance of passing. It's also a pretty good sign that the undecided vote is pretty evenly distributed among the parties.
I'll be giving periodic updates on the state of Proposition 34 as the election gets closer. That and Proposition 36 (which would reform our state's infamous "three-strikes and you're out" law) are two very important measures to rein in the prison-industrial complex in California.