UPDATE: Californians Divided on Cigarette Tax Vote
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (AP) - A high-profile California cigarette tax initiative backed by cycling legend Lance Armstrong that once seemed like a sure thing teetered on the brink of defeat Wednesday, a testament to the efficacy of a $50 million campaign backed by Big Tobacco.
A blizzard of industry-financed radio and television advertisements over the last two months closed the gap on an effort to impose an additional $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research.
In March, a statewide poll suggested the Proposition 29 would pass with two-thirds approval.
But the race was too close to call the morning after Election Day. According to the state election numbers, the vote is divided by about 63,000 votes. With millions of votes still to be counted, it could be days or longer before a winner is declared.
With 100 percent of the voting precincts reporting, the status of the vote stands as follows:
Proposition 29 (Cigarette Tax)
YES - 1,894,871 (49.2%)
NO - 1,958,047 (50.8%)