The Associated Press released a poll today that told us nothing new, but filled us with good cheer. According to a survey of 1,011 American adults by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 75 percent of Americans would oppose a Bloomberg-style ban on large sodas in restaurants, and nearly 60 percent would oppose a soft drink tax or fat tax.
This isn’t surprising. New Yorkers opposed their overlord’s new diet diktat by wide margins, and citizens of other places aren’t exactly pining for similar laws. (Perhaps that’s why Bloomberg went through his hand-picked bureaucrats, not the elected City Council.) And soft drink taxes went 0-for-2 at the ballot box in California this year, two years after Washington state repealed a soda tax by referendum.
That hasn’t stopped the anti-food-choice forces from proposing copycat soda prohibitions and fourteen soda tax ballot measures in 2014. The AP poll results suggest that activists will have little success.
Despite proclamations by New York Times columnist Mark Bittman and commentator Michael Pollan of a “food movement” that has the power to restrict consumer choice, there is no evidence that Americans want or need to give up food and beverage freedom. The soda tax, for instance, is predicted to reduce total calorie intake by an amount equal to a short walk. No wonder California newspapers widely trashed the soda tax proposals in that state, with San Diego’s Union-Tribune calling them “scams.”