Prop. 19 Chances 'About Even.' Maybe.


Today the Yes on 19 campaign released a new TV ad, featuring former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara:

Recent survey data, which show support for Prop. 19 slipping, suggest it can use whatever boost ex-cops like McNamara can give it. In a survey (PDF) conducted October 10-17, the Public Policy Institute of California found 44 percent in favor of the initiative (an eight-point drop in support since September) and 49 percent against, with 7 percent undecided. A Los Angeles Times/USC poll conducted October 13-20 showed 39 percent in favor, 51 percent against.

By contrast, a campaign-commissioned poll (PDF) conducted October 13-14 found 54 percent support for the initiative in automated interviews, compared to only 36 percent in live interviews (for an average of 45 percent). This divergence jibes with poll maven Nate Silver's hypothesis that people may be reluctant to endorse marijuana legalization when they're asked about it by live humans. The initiative's backers note that SurveyUSA, which has consistently found more support than opposition for Prop. 19 (though the gap has narrowed recently), uses automated polling. Its latest results (from October 15-18) show 48 percent in favor, 44 percent against.

Last week Silver summarized the recent polling data:

Calculating a trendline from all surveys on the initiative suggests that about 46 percent of Californians plan to vote in favor of Proposition 19…but 47 percent plan to vote no. This reflects a reversal from before, as the ballot measure had led in most surveys prior to this month….

There are good reasons to think the polls could either be overestimating or underestimating Proposition 19's support. In spite of the recent trends against Proposition 19, therefore, I would be inclined to take the recent polling at face value, which suggests that the measure has about even odds of passing.

McNamara gives three reasons to support Prop. 19 in the December issue of Reason. An online Yes on 19 ad, like the spot featuring McNamara, plays up the "drug dealers don't card" angle.

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  1. Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance.It is a species of intemperance within itself,for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation,and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes.A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.

    1. We never really liked you anyway.

  2. George Soros just donated 1 million to support prop 19.


    1. Campaign money: Good.

  3. I don’t get this. I can’t imagine that most Californians–left or right–are pro-WoD. On top of that, if this passes, it would be a real slap in the face to the federal government, which is something Californians like to do on occasion.

    1. Ever been to Orange County?

      1. The home of the one newspaper chain that is neutral to positive on Prop 19?

      2. I have. I used to fly into John Wayne every once in a while when I worked at Washington Mutual.

        1. . . .a bankrupt entity very similar to your “California” in most respects.

          1. Except that WaMU is no more. California is.

          2. WaMu failed, its investors got destroyed, and its business, people and infrastructure are now part of JPMorgan, which has the strongest balance sheet among major US commercial banks.

            I’d say WaMu’s doing a bit better. Took its hits and some such.

  4. Most of the latest polls have been Live Operator Polls and they tend to skew lower than automated Polls which all have Prop 19 passing.

    I’ll go along with the author though, and say it’s a toss up. It’s gonna come down to who wants it more.

    I believe in civil liberties and fair treatment for everyone. I don’t believe that just because someone decides they’d rather use Cannabis than Alcohol that they should have their lives invaded by the Government. It’s not right, it’s not fair, and it doesn’t make any sense considering that nearly every study I can find says it’s much safer and less toxic.

    I am a 52 year old married man with two kids. I am voting Yes on Prop 19.

    1. Good for you! I am a 57 year old married man with three kids and two grand kids. I already voted yes on 19.

  5. Shit. Soros supports this? Now I’m starting to think I should re-think my support for this measure. Big government shills on board can never be a good thing.

    1. I am not a Soros fan either, but he is right on this issue.

      1. Like the old saying about a broken clock…

    2. But of course you’d never let your personal dislike for a single individual trump your convictions on policy matters.

      1. Like me!

  6. It’s a shame that law enforcement officers who oppose the WoD always seem to have the modifier “former” before their titles.

  7. In other news:

    This time, the offer was much better; no jail time, drop all charges against Stacy except one count of manufacturing marijuana, for which Stacy would get three years probation.

    Stacy was raided on September 9, 2009 the same day over a dozen other medical marijuana dispensaries were raided in San Diego County as part of District Attorney (DA) Bonnie Dumanis’ fierce fight against medical marijuana patients, dubbed by her office as “Operation Green Rx”.


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