Gap Narrows For Tax Targeted By Big Tobacco

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two weeks after the California primary, a closely watched effort to impose a new tax on tobacco in the nation’s most populous state remains too close to call.

The secretary of state reports that with 400,000 ballots outstanding, the measure to help fund cancer research is trailing by just 17,500 votes.

Through a barrage of campaign ads, tobacco companies were able to cut support for the $1-a-pack cigarette tax from a two-thirds majority in March to a dead heat on Election Day. Since June 5, the margin of defeat has fluctuated, but remained within a fraction of a percentage point.

Opponents of the measure raised $47 million to fight it, dramatically outspending supporters, who raised $12 million.

Election officials have until July 6 to report final results.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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