Proposition 19, which would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults over 21 years old, is currently winning by a wide margin among California voters according to a new PPP poll. The measure is supported by 52% of voters while opposed by only 36%.

Prop 19 PPP (7/23-25)
Support 52%
Oppose 36%
Not Sure 12%

This is the largest margin of support we have seen from recent polling on Prop 19. Interestingly, the poll found support among African Americans to be extremely high. From PPP blog:

Democrats are more likely to throw their support behind the prop than Republicans. 62% of Democrats, 37% of Republicans and 55% of Independents support Prop 19.

African-Americans are the strongest supporters of Prop 19; 68:32, followed by Whites who support it 53:37.

Those are surprisingly high numbers among African Americans. A SurveyUSA poll from earlier this month had African Americans on average about as likely to support Prop 19 as whites. Significantly, a small percentage of African Americans said they were certain to oppose it.

Both this PPP Poll and the SurveyUSA poll directly contradict a Field Poll (PDF) which had African Americans dramatically less supportive of Prop 19 than whites in California. It would seem that there is a problem accurately gauging support for Prop 19 among the African American community. This might be due to the taboo nature of this specific policy issue resulting from the government spending huge amounts of money on anti-marijuana propaganda for decades. It is possible that African Americans, and possibly other ethnic groups, don’t feel comfortable telling pollsters their actual position on legalizing cannabis.

Plurality of American adults supports legalizing marijuana.

In addition, there is more good news about support for marijuana legalization from Rasmussen Reports. For the first time, their poll of all American adults has a plurality supporting legalization: 43% think marijuana should be legalized while 42% think it should remain illegal. That is a significant improvement from a similar Rasmussen poll just a little over a year ago, which found 41% supporting legalization and 49% opposed. It is possible that Prop 19, by bringing the debate to the forefront, is starting to noticeably move national opinions by forcing people to take some time to actually think about the issue.

The most interesting part of the Rasmussen poll is that a solid majority thinks legalization is a real possibility in the relatively short term.

65% believe it is at least somewhat likely marijuana will be legalized in the United States in the next 10 years. Just 28% do not expect this to happen. Those numbers include 29% who say it is Very Likely pot will be legal in the next 10 years and five percent (5%) who say it is Not At All Likely.

It is important to point out that the subset of American adults who actually vote tends to be older and less supportive of legalization than the general public, so we probably have not yet reached the point where a plurality of the all important “likely voters” supports legalization, but at the current rate that point could be reached soon.