California’s ballot initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, Proposition 19, is now leading with 52 percent in support and only 41 percent opposed, according to the latest PPIC poll (PDF) of likely voters. This poll is especially good news for Prop 19. The 11-point lead is not only one of the largest ever for Prop 19, most importantly, Prop 19 is now polling over 50 percent, so even if all remaining undecideds end up voting “no,” it would still pass. This poll also shows increasing support for marijuana legalization since the Prop 19 debate started.
PPIC (PDF) (9/16-26)
Proposition 19 is called the “Legalizes Marijuana Under California but Not Federal Law. Permits Local Governments to Regulate and Tax Commercial Production, Distribution, and Sale of Marijuana. Initiative Statute.” It allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Depending on federal, state, and local government actions, fiscal impact is potential increased tax and fee revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually and potential correctional savings of several tens of millions of dollars annually. If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no on Proposition 19?
don’t know 7
Support for marijuana legalization has significantly improved since the last time PPIC polled about it May. Their May poll found only 49 percent of likely voters thought marijuana should be made legal while 48 percent thought it should remain illegal.
Interestingly, while Prop 19 is winning 52-41, when likely voters were asked “In general, do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” 51 percent said yes, legal, while 45 percent said no, illegal. Prop 19 is actually slightly outperforming the general concept of marijuana legalization. This maybe a result of Prop 19’s language specifying the taxing and regulating of marijuana. Regardless, this is an important point to keep in mind when looking at polling about marijuana legalization. Support for specific policy changes or ballot measures to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana may outpoll the general concept of legalization.
A ballot measure below 50 percent is considered to be in the danger zone. Having Prop 19 just above 50 percent is critical because it means the measure could pass if the campaign can just prevent their committed supporters from changing their minds and make sure their people show up to vote. Remaining undecided voters opinions on legalizing marijuana track closely with those that register a position on Prop 19. Since nearly half of those undecided about Prop 19 think marijuana use should remain illegal, coupled with the general proclivity to default to “no,” it seems a clear sign that “Yes on 19” forces cannot count on a significant number of late-breaking undecideds to support the proposition.
Looking at the crosstabs, the general patterns of support for Prop 19 remain the same. Men are more supportive than women. Independents and Democrats support it by large margins while Republicans tend to be opposed. Voters under 35 overwhelming support Prop 19 by a margin of 70 percent to 22 percent. Interestingly, this poll actually shows Latinos more supportive (“yes” 63 percent, “no” 33 percent) than whites (“yes” 50, “no” 43), something other polls have not found.
While 49 percent of voters say the outcome of Prop 19 is very important, those who plan to vote against it are more likely than those who support it to say the outcome is very important (65 percent to 42 percent).
At 52 percent yes, Prop 19’s chances of passage seem to have improved slightly, but the outcome is still likely to be extremely close .