Case Study

YES on 30

YES on Prop 30

Restoring the California Dream

In 2012, SCN oversaw strategy and media for YES on 30, California's landmark school funding measure sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown and a coalition of teachers and law enforcement professionals. The passage of Prop 30 – with a surprising 55 percent of the vote – immediately prevented over $6 billion in school cuts and college tuition increases and provided billions more for schools and colleges in the years to come.

In a victory that confounded the state's pundits, Prop 30 overcame a combined $20 million negative advertising assault, including millions from outside super PACs. The key drivers in Prop 30's success were a relentless campaign by Governor Brown, the strong statewide organizing and GOTV effort led by Prop 30's coalition partners and an effective and disciplined message employing the right messengers at the right time. The message was simple – with the California Dream hanging in the balance, California must stop the school cuts. The television campaign featured schoolteachers and education leaders making an appeal for schools, State Controller John Chiang promoting the accountability features and Governor Brown delivering the closing argument.

Particularly critical to the victory was the campaign's final spot in which a classroom teacher rebutted the closing NO ad, which employed a paid actress. "I'm a teacher, not an actress."

Gov. Jerry Brown and fellow Democrats have scored a stunning, historic victory in California… it was the winning way and, in the end, surprisingly, not even close.

George Skelton, LA Times

'It's a huge victory — underline huge — for Jerry Brown,' says former Republican legislative leader Jim Brulte, a government affairs consultant.

'In a state that had rejected the last eight tax increases on the ballot, Gov. Brown got the voters to support taxes even in difficult economic times. I don't think you can underestimate the benefits to Jerry Brown of 30 passing.'

LA Times