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Reflections on the Industry's Defeat

In his postelection analysis prepared for the tobacco industry, Ray McNally, whose firm Ray McNally and Associates coordinated the industry's direct mail campaign, wrote, “In retrospect, I believe we overplayed the crime issue. We came on too hot, trying to sell the argument that California streets would run red with blood if Proposition 99 were enacted. Had we turned the heat down, focusing less on the potential for violence and more on the actual economic loss and added strain on law enforcement caused by smuggling, then used actual experiences and spokespersons from other states as `proof,' we would have preserved our


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credibility and alienated fewer opinion leaders at the start of the campaign.”[60] Nicholl substantially agreed with McNally and thought that the key mistake the “no” side made was dropping the crime theme after the Hoar controversy. If the pro-tobacco forces had merely dropped the Hoar advertisement, apologized, and continued the general crime theme, Nicholl thought the proponents of the initiative would have been in trouble. He said, “The victory was getting them to stop playing the ad, because that ad took us from over 70 percent down to 55 percent. And if they kept going, they would have kept taking us down. …The voters walking into the polls in November, if they had stuck with that thing, they couldn't see beyond it.”[6]

Hanauer's initial skepticism about victory turned out to be wrong. He observed, “It showed that the tobacco industry could be beaten on a statewide campaign. Beyond that, and probably the reason why it was beaten, it showed once and for all that the people hated the industry.”[61]


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