Proposition 14, the “open primary” ballot measure that Californians will vote on today, has strong support from the public, who may be reacting to the fact that both the Democratic and Republican state parties oppose the initiative.

According to a new poll, 50 percent of likely voters told Survey USA they favor the ballot measure, 28 percent were against it, and 22 percent are “not certain.”

Despite the objections of their own political party, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado — who are both moderate Republicans — support Proposition 14.

Schwarzenegger and Maldonado say the ballot measure will open up the primary process and make room for more moderate, independent-thinking elected officials in California.

Some political observers, though, say the two Republicans actually want to transform the state GOP into a more voter-friendly, “Big Tent” party — for years, conservative Republicans have run the show.

Proposition 14 proposes to hold open primaries, where anyone of any political party can vote in a state or congressional race. The top two vote-getters then face each other in the general election.

As a result, such third party candidates as someone from Libertarian or Green parties may get shut out of the general election — one Republican and one Democrat may land the top two slots, for example.

Green party and Libertarian leaders oppose Prop. 14.

Yet voters seem determined to rattle the political establishment in California, with the ballot measure appearing to them to be a tool that will shake things up.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly