The battle over the bottle bill, an intense and heavily financed one for an off-year election campaign, has stirred strong feelings among D.C. voters, many of whose attitudes are being shaped by the massive media campaign against the initiative, interviews in neighborhoods across the city this week showed.

Most of the nearly three dozen people interviewed said they were planning to vote for Initiative 28 on Tuesday, often citing disapproval of ads sponsored by the Clean Capital City Committee, a beverage-industry-financed group that has mounted a nearly $2 million campaign against the initiative.

"I think they're misleading," said Susan Jacobs, 43, of Capitol Hill. "It's kind of annoying. They kind of lead you to believe that if you're for a bottle bill you're for a dirty city."

Several people who said they were registered voters, however, said they agreed with ads that criticize the measure, which would require stores to impose deposits ranging from 5 cents to 20 cents on carbonated beverages sold in cans and bottles.

Mary L. Jones-Johnson, 29, a hairstylist on Georgia Avenue in Northwest, pointed to a curbside trash can and said she doubts a bottle bill would reduce trash, as proponents have claimed.

"That's in some people's nature, to throw stuff on the ground," she said. "See that dumpster right there? I've seen people throw stuff on the ground at the dumpster."

Jones-Johnson said she would vote against the bottle bill.

"Like everybody's saying, all you've got to do is throw them in the trash," she said. Asked who "everybody" was, she said people on television.

Across the street, barber Fred Verner, 58, was reading about the bottle bill battle in the newspaper. He said he was undecided -- and may not vote. But even in his indecision, he said, the anti-initiative ads had made an impression. On the litter issue, he said: "I'm like that guy on the TV: {it} wouldn't be that way if people would throw bottles in the trash can."

The concerns expressed by those who were interviewed -- regardless of their stand -- mirrored the issues that have been highlighted by the professional partisans on both sides of the bottle bill battle:

Will there be more or less litter, roaches and rodents on the streets and in stores that have to store the empty containers? Would passage of the initiative open up entrepreneurial opportunities for children and others who collect the containers? Will store owners be overburdened by the return of empty beverage containers? Will keeping the empties at home, then returning them to stores, be more trouble than it is worth?

On its anti-initiative campaign posters, The Clean Capital City Committee tells voters that the initiative makes a bigger mess than it cleans up.

The posters of the proponents, the Bottle Bill Initiative Campaign, tell them the initiative will turn their trash into cash.

Among voters who said they planned to vote for the bottle bill, many recalled childhoods in which they collected and returned bottles as a way of keeping change in their pockets. Children today, they said, would be less inclined to break a bottle against a curb if they knew that bottle was worth money, they said.

"I think they should pass it because up in this area here it would stop kids from throwing bottles," said Debra Hodge, 39, of Congress Heights in Southeast. "This way, they could take them back to the store. I think the kids would do it. I think the adults would do it. I would definitely do it. I'm a beer drinker."

George Balton, 42, a Northwest resident, agreed that many residents could benefit from the container deposit.

"I'm going to vote for it because I think it would help clean up the city," Balton said. Also, he said, passage of the initiative would present "a way for young kids to have an income. It would help a lot of people as a matter of fact. The homeless people would have a way of obtaining some money."

Said Robert Thomas, 40, of Congress Heights, "I could use the change."

Despite the promise of extra money for some, however, others said they did not think requiring deposits on carbonated beverage containers would be worth the trouble.

It would be "an inconvenience to the public. You'll have to take time to save the bottles and time to take them back," said Bud Hodges, 30, of Logan Circle in Northwest. If litter is the issue, he said, "I think that the mayor could do better with his trash pick-up.

"I plan to vote against it because I think it's a total waste."

On both sides, said Charles Webb, 37, of Michigan Park in Northeast, there are good arguments. "I'm definitely undecided," he said. There might be less litter, he said, but would store owners suffer from an avalanche of empties? "On the other hand, it may keep children from getting hurt" on broken glass.

"Hopefully, before I go into the polling place, I'll know," Webb said.