“These guys, they play for keeps, and they say things in their ads...that are misleading or inaccurate, but there's nothing you can do about it.”
A successful campaign for the stem cell agency would be about life (stem cells) versus death (tobacco). Indeed, a truly vicious campaign by the tobacco industry could well backfire on the industry, creating even more antipathy and animosity than now exists. A winning ballot measure also needs a good villain to help rally support. In 2004, when the stem cell agency was created, the campaign had that villain -- former President George Bush and his restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research.
Important policy issues, however, would arise involving dedication of tax revenues for a specific purpose, one of the reasons the state of California has had financial difficulties.
All of which is moot since the agency has made it clear that it is not game for the battle.