JSN Prop 19, Just Say Now - Legalize MarijuanaSupport for Proposition 19, which would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in California, is holding remarkably steady according to the latest SurveyUSA poll for CBS 5. Among likely voters, 47 percent said they are certain to vote yes while only 42 percent are said they are certain to vote no.

SurveyUSA (9/19-21)
California voters may also vote on several propositions. On Proposition 19, which would change California law to legalize marijuana and allow it to be regulated and taxed, are you …
Certain Yes 47%
Certain No 42%
Not Certain 11%

Support for Prop 19 has remained remarkably steady for a ballot measure. This recent poll is in fact a statistically insignificant change from three weeks ago when SurveyUSA last polled the question and found it at 47 percent yes, 43 percent no, and barely changed from July when the ballot measure was leading 50 percent yes, 40 percent no.

PPP recently also found Prop 19 winning 47 percent of the vote, while 38 percent expected to vote no, which was only a very modest drop in support from their July poll that had the initiative winning 52-36. The firm “yes” is normally the most important part of a ballot measure poll because undecideds tend to break towards “no,” so the agreement between the two polls is very indicative of strong support.

The fact that there are so few undecided and such little fluctuation in the polling speaks to how firm most people are in their positions on the issue of marijuana legalization. It would seem the chances of the No or Yes campaigns changing voters’ minds on Prop 19 is minimal, so with support for the proposition hovering right around 50 percent, its success or failure will all come down to turnout.

Not surprisingly, this most recent poll from SurveyUSA also found that marijuana legalization enjoys overwhelming support among voters under 35 (62-29) and strong opposition from senior citizens (34-52). The bad news for Prop 19 is that midterm elections are normally dominated by older voters. For example, in 2008, voters under 25 made up 11.28 percent of the electorate in California, but in 2006 they made up only 5.85 percent.

The big question that Prop 19′s success or failure hangs on is probably whether having marijuana legalization on the ballot causes the young voters that overwhelmingly support it to turn out in higher numbers, like the levels seen for a presidential election. High youth turnout could be the difference between a 49-51 loss and a 51-49 victory. The evidence from PPP polling is that Prop 19 is likely having some measurable effect on increased enthusiasm among younger voters.

Even if Prop 19 barely fails this time, the huge age divide means that it is only a matter of a few years before there is a clear voting majority for marijuana legalization in California.