California Split Almost Evenly On Prop 19 To Legalize Marijuana


Graphic: Earth First

​Proposition 19, the newly numbered Control & Tax Cannabis 2010 initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana in California, would lose if the election was held today — but by a very, very close margin, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The poll found that 48 percent of voters would support legalizing marijuana, with 50 percent opposed. The results fall well within the poll’s margin of error, which is plus or minus four percentage points.

Photo: Democracy Now
Jon Walker: “Prop 19’s fate could easily rest on whether or not the issue gets young voters politically enaged in higher-than-usual numbers”

​The numbers are very close to those from a May poll taken by the Public Policy Institute of California. That one gave marijuana legalization a slight edge, 49-48, also within the poll’s margin of error, reports policy analyst Jon Walker at FireDogLake.
The marijuana legalization issue is unusual in that very few voters are still undecided about the controversy.
“It seems almost all Californians have already taken at least a tentative initial position on the issue,” Walker said.
According to Walker and other observers of California’s political scene, the best hope for Prop 19 is probably to find a way to get young people to turn out and vote. Voters under 25 overwhelmingly favor legalizing marijuana, but this age group tends to skip midterm elections.
“If the issue remains this closely divided all the way through to November, Prop 19’s fate could easily rest on whether or not the issue gets young voters politically engaged in higher-than-usual numbers,” Walker said.
Prop 19 spokesman Dan Newman said the campaign’s own statewide survey of 800 voters conducted May 6-12 with a three-percent margin of error shows 51 percent support the measure upon hearing only the title, with 40 percent opposed.
The campaign’s poll also found that about three in four voters say California should control marijuana like alcohol or tobacco. High percentages of voters also agreed that the initiative would raise tax revenue and save the state enforcement money.
The initiative would allow cities and counties to tax marijuana sales.
About 94 percent of the $1.5 million raised for the measure so far has come from Oaksterdam University President Richard Lee’s businesses in Oakland.