By a comfortable margin, Californians passed a $3 billion measure yesterday (November 2) that will create an Institute for Regenerative Medicine based on embryonic stem cell research. The measure, known as Proposition 71, won 59% of the vote, or 5,576,831 votes, with 99% of precincts reporting by this morning, according to CNN.com.
Despite California's budget deficit, there had been little organized opposition to the California stem cell initiative. The measure prohibits funding of human reproductive cloning efforts and would dole out the funds over 10 years. The $300 million per year would dwarf current federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which is about $25 million per year.
As had been expected, a majority (55%) of Californians also voted for Sen. John Kerry, compared with 44% for President George Bush, but this morning, Kerry called Bush to concede the national election. The election had been considered too close to call earlier in the day, but returns from Ohio clinched the Bush victory.
The presidential election had galvanized many scientists who were critical of Bush's policies on science—in particular his appointments to advisory boards and his stand on embryonic stem cell research—behind Kerry.
Editor's note (posted at 12:40 p.m. EST): This story has been updated since it was originally posted.
Correction (posted November 4): When originally posted, this story reported that there had been no organized opposition to Proposition 71. In fact, as a reader pointed out to us yesterday, there were two umbrella groups coordinating such opposition: http://www.noon71.com and http://www.allianceagainstprop71.org/.