There were 23 state ballot measures decided by less than a percentage point in California between 1910 and 2022. The ballot measure with the closest vote margin percentage during that period was Proposition 74, which was defeated with a vote margin of 50.01% ‘No’ to 49.99% ‘Yes’ in 1988. The margin in absolute votes was 545. Proposition 74 would have issued $1 billion in bonds for improvements to state highways, streets and roads, and rail transit.
The measure with the closest absolute vote margin was Proposition 4 in 1915. ‘No’ votes exceeded ‘Yes’ votes by 514. The vote margin percentage was 49.90% to 50.10%. Proposition 4 would have allowed judges appointed to fill vacancies on the supreme court, district court of appeal, or superior court to finish the rest of the position’s term.
The following table shows the vote margins for the closest 10 ballot measure elections in California between 1910 and 2022:
The 10 statewide ballot measures in California between 1910 and 2022 with the widest vote margins saw at least a 71% difference in vote share for the winning and losing sides. The ballot measure with the widest margin during that period was Proposition 12 in 1972, which was approved with a vote margin of 89.73% approving to 10.27% rejecting. Proposition 12 extended tax exemptions for disabled veterans to veterans who had lost the use of both arms, the use of one arm or one leg, or the use of one arm and one leg and extended this tax exemption to surviving spouses. The margin in absolute votes was 6,288,157.
Nine of the 10 statewide ballot measures with the widest margins were approved. In 1988, California voters defeated Proposition 101 by a margin of 13.27% approving to 86.73% rejecting. Proposition 101 would have required insurance companies to reduce the bodily injury liability and uninsured motorist portions of motor vehicle insurance rates and limit claims for non-economic losses and attorney contingency fees.
The following table shows the vote margins for the widest 10 ballot measure elections in California between 1910 and 2022:
In 2022, California voters defeated Proposition 27, which would legalize mobile sports betting, by a vote margin of 17.59% approving to 82.41% rejecting. About 2% of California ballot measures that were defeated had wider margins than Proposition 27.