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.