Drug War

Prop. 19 Favored, but No Sure Thing


The Drug War Chronicle summarizes the results of 13 polls that have asked California voters about Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization initiative, since May:

The average for all the polls so far has Prop 19 winning 47.4%, with 43.2% opposed and 9.4% undecided.

The numbers would have been better for Prop 19 except for Monday's Reuter/Ipsos poll, which bucked the trend to show Prop 19 losing by 10 points. It is one of only three polls that show the measure losing; one was a Field Poll in July and the other was another Reuters/Ipsos poll in June….

Undecideds would have to break dramatically toward a no vote for the initiative to lose if the poll average today holds until Election Day. With Prop 19 at nearly 48% and undecideds at just under 10%, it would need to pick up just better than one out of five of those voters to get over the top.

A last-minute flurry of ads by opponents of Prop. 19, who at this point have very little money in the bank, could change that calculus. Then again, the poll results may understate support for the initiative if people worry that expressing tolerance for pot smoking might reflect negatively on them. Poll maven Nate Silver argues that such reluctance may explain why support for legalizing pot tends to be lower in surveys done by live people, as opposed to computerized phone calls.

Brian Doherty discussed the politics of Prop. 19 earlier today, and yesterday I rebutted five commonly heard arguments against it.

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  1. The July Field Poll is old and outdated, but if they poll again, pay attention to them. They are scary accurate. Nate Silver rated them as the best pollster in the nation. Too bad they only poll California.

    1. Checking their webstie, they did poll again in Sept., and had it winning 49-42.

  2. A last-minute flurry of ads by opponents of Prop. 19, who at this point have very little money in the bank, could change that calculus.

    Somehow I think you underestimate the amount of money AB, Miller (SAB), Coors etc have in the bank and will be willing to spend in the home stretch here. Be prepared to be bombarded with ads from third parties ripping Prop 19 for every reason from “For the Children,” to “Driving high will be a killer,” to “Health costs associated with pot will rise to…,” to “It’s a waste of time because federal law states…”

    If you don’t see that coming, Armin, you must be blind. No offense meant, but seriously?

    1. I dunno. It’s October. This is the home stretch. You can’t turn on a statewide ad campaign within a week, particularly with a ton of competition from the Senate and Governor’s races and the main No on 19 groups have no money in the bank. (see: https://reason.com/archives/201…..osition-19 )

      If they want to stop 19, they are waiting way too long. I predict that 19 will pass.

      1. Oh, I think it will pass as well. I just expect an all-out media blitz from the opponents who really have skin in the game, namely the alcohol industry.

      2. Look, this is California we’re talking about. Even if it passes, how long do you think it’ll be before the powers-that-be haul it front of a judge and have it declared unconstitutional?

        1. Can’t happen. Nobody would have standing to get it into court.

          1. Holder may disagree with you on that.

    2. Oops, apologies to Mr Rosen. My ire was directed at Mr. Sullum.

  3. A last-minute flurry of ads by opponents of Prop. 19, who at this point have very little money in the bank, could change that calculus.

    The chief opponents are law enforcement and other government officials. They don’t need money in the bank since they get lots of free media coverage and spend tax dollars to pay for appearances.

    1. I forgot those guys get their press for free, but see my post above. Booze will really go all out now, I think.

      Not that it’ll work. I think it’s too late for that unless some deranged dude all hopped up on the pot goes on a shooting spree. Or at least that’s what the “anonymous sources” will say.

    2. They attempted to do this yesterday with multiple raids in So Cal. The dispensaries were accused of selling illegal drugs like coke and meth (even though none were found).

  4. Then again, the poll results may understate support for the initiative if people worry that expressing tolerance for pot smoking might reflect negatively on them.

    Especially with the DEA eavesdropping on everybody . . . . . .

  5. I hope it passes, as much for the Constitutional crisis it will provoke as for the increase in freedom.

    California is a big electoral prize in two years. Neither party can afford to piss it off or punish it too much by going full retard with federal sanctions and whatnot. Which is good, for letting legalization settle in, but bad for the Constitutional crisis.

    1. Do we need a crisis? Wouldn’t de facto nullification with no crisis just be a plain old victory?

    2. I don’t understand what Constitutional crisis this would engender.

      1. Supremacy Clause, Commerce Clause. Along with the 10th Amendment, maybe more.

    3. Agree. The intrastate bickering and fighting will be delicious. The battle between CA and the Fed will be divine.

  6. They had a story on the Cubs website the other day about a rally sponsored by the team in support of “Proposition 420”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a clever nickname for Prop 19, but rather the proper name for the AZ referendum on whether to spend money on a new spring training complex for the Cubs.

  7. An informal poll of the employees and customers of the Supply Sergeant in Burbank indicate that anyone who opposes Prop 19 hates America.

  8. Legalize? What’s the difference? Judging from California’s financial condition, the legislature has been stoned for years.

  9. The fact that, in California, in 2010, after having at least three presidents who smoked pot, and with the current president almost too young to be a babyboomer, over 40% of people STILL want to keep pot illegal is a sad commentary on the sheep — oops, I mean people — of this country.

    1. all the presidents who smoked it wanted to keep it illegal once they got the power.

  10. IPSOS Poll question leads to the weird result!
    “25. Proposition 19 reads as follows:
    “Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits
    local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or
    older. Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while
    minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving
    while impaired.
    Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local
    governments is: Savings of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on
    the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Unknown but potentially major tax, fee,
    and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government related to the production and sale of
    marijuana products.”
    Would you vote in favor or against Proposition 19?”

    That is the question as asked!!

    No worries…the other polls are truthier! 😀

  11. So am I the ONLY person here who thinks that all the anti-19 advertising is actually HELPING Prop 19 to pass? I think people in general are tired of the lies and the more the lies (and, let’s be honest– outright anti-pot BIGOTRY) keep getting tossed around the more tired of hearing it the average person will be. This will win, but not IN SPITE of all the advertising against it– but BECAUSE of it. Can you say? “backfire”? 🙂

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