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October 23, 2010

"Survey shows legal pot measure failing"

The title of this post is the headline of this Los Angeles Times article reporting on the latest polling numbers surrounding Proposition 19 in California.  Here are the details:

California's marijuana legalization ballot initiative, Proposition 19, is trailing badly, according to a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll, which found likely voters opposing it 51% to 39%....

The marijuana legalization measure has led in most polls, but support has softened recently. The initiative's supporters, who are short on money, have not run the television advertisements that most political strategists say are essential to communicate with voters in a state the size of California.

"If voters don't see a compelling reason to vote for an initiative, the default is to vote against it," said Darry Sragow, the interim director of the Times/USC poll. "That may be happening here in the absence of a visible, compelling campaign." The poll indicates that "voters who are going to make the critical difference seem to be saying, 'I'm not ready to do this,'" he said.

Proposition 19, which needs a majority vote to pass, would allow Californians who are at least 21 to grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana and possess up to an ounce. Cities and counties could authorize commercial cultivation and sales, and could impose taxes.

The poll, conducted for The Times and the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, found the initiative favored by Democrats, 51% to 41%, and opposed by Republicans, 66% to 23%. 

Men were evenly split, and women were leaning against it.  Both sides consider mothers a key swing vote, with backers of legalization saying it would lead to regulations that would do more to keep pot from children, and opponents saying young people would have easier access and so more would use it.

Likely voters younger than 40 are in favor of Proposition 19 by 48% to 37%, but older voters are opposed, the poll found.  Among likely voters 65 and over, only 28% support the measure, while 59% said they were opposed.

Poll respondent Nancy Bynes, 51, who is married with two adult children, said she smoked pot as a teen in the 1970s.  A dog groomer who lives near Nevada City, she said she doesn't believe marijuana is dangerous and wants police to focus on serious crimes. "Go after the meth labs, please.  Pot is not worth it," said Bynes, who switches her registration between parties.

But Shawn Lidtka, a single Democrat from Garden Grove and a mechanical engineering student at Cal State Fullerton, said he opposes legalizing marijuana because he believes the drug saps people of their ambition.  "My goal is to be deeper into life, not diminish it," said the 28-year-old Army veteran.

Some polls have shown Latino voters, initially against legalization, swinging toward it, but the Times/USC poll found they are against it by 2 to 1.  White voters also oppose the measure.  Supporters of legalization have highlighted statistics showing members of minority groups are arrested for marijuana possession at higher rates than whites.

The fact that Republicans favor preserving pot prohibitions 3-to-1 reinforces my sense that this party still strongly favors big government denying individual liberty in some settings.

Some related posts on pot policy and politics:

October 23, 2010 at 09:13 AM | Permalink

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Comments

The status quo: marijuana kills dozens a year, illegal; cigarettes kill 400,000 a year, alcohol, 100,000, both legal.

Either legalize marijuana or ban alcohol and cigarettes. The status quo is stupid or insane, and very damaging to the economy.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 23, 2010 9:27:41 AM

"marijuana kills dozens"? Please name one.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Oct 23, 2010 10:43:18 AM

Cops get off on the probable cause contact high pot gives them. Ironically, cops who smoked pot can still be hired because there would not be enough eligible candidates otherwise. Same with the FBI.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 23, 2010 1:22:32 PM

Using and selling of marijuana should be studied and debated thoroughly. All essential information about this weed should be presented. That includes the effect and damage that it can cause to our body.

Posted by: legal highs | Apr 13, 2011 9:47:47 AM

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