Poll Puts Pressure on Senate Majority Leader to Schedule Food Safety Bill for a Vote

Eighty-two percent of Nevada voters say they support the food safety legislation pending in the Senate, according to a poll (pdf) released yesterday by the Make Our Food Coalition in a move to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

“Voters across the political spectrum in Nevada strongly endorse passing the food safety legislation currently before the U.S. Senate,” according to the survey results, published by Hart Research Associates and conducted on behalf of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Produce Safety Project. The poll surveyed 504 voters across Nevada in late June.  

Here are some of the highlighted findings (pdf) from the survey:

-73 percent of voters say it is important for Congress to pass legislation to strengthen food safety standards and better protect consumers from contaminated foods, including 49 percent who say this is very important.

-84 percent say that ensuring food safety is the government’s responsibility; just 11 percent say this is something for which the government should not have responsibility.

-Support for this legislation crosses all demographic and partisan lines. Eighty-three percent of voters under age 50 favor the legislation, as do 78 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and 86 percent of seniors.

-90 percent of Democrats favor the legislation, as do 86 percent of unaffiliated and independent voters, and 71 percent of Republicans.

NV-food-safety-poll.jpg“Indeed, at a time of heightened partisan division, this issue garners an unusually high level of support among Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike,” said the summary of findings. “They see ensuring food safety as the federal government’s responsibility, believe it is important that stronger food safety measures be put in place, and favor the specific legislation currently in Congress by a margin of nearly seven to one.”

Food safety advocates hope the poll will help put pressure on the Senate Majority Leader to bring the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to a vote. The House passed a similar bill in July 2009, but the Senate version has languished behind other legislative priorities.

Reid faces a tough fight to win reelection this fall. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows him trailing Republican opponent Sharron Angle by a few points.