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Major Poll Gives California Marijuana Initiative Ten Point Lead

Support for legalization correlates with support for liberal positions on other social issues.
 
 
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Support for Proposition 19, California's Tax and Regulate Cannabis marijuana legalization initiative is at 50% in the latest Survey USA poll, which was released last week. The figure is unchanged from last month's Survey USA poll.

Some 40% of respondents opposed the initiative, which would allow Californians 21 or over to possess up to an ounce of weed and to grow up to 25 square feet worth. The initiative would also give counties and municipalities the local option of permitting, taxing, and regulating marijuana sales and cultivation.

Survey USA contacted 1,000 adult Californians, found 837 of them registered to vote, and polled 602 of them it considered most likely to vote. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.1%

This poll is in line with other recent polls, including one we reported on earlier last week that had support for a general marijuana legalization question at 51%. Like other recent telephone polls, today's Survey USA poll shows higher levels of support for legalization than the face-to-face polls, suggesting that some potential voters are reluctant to say they support a controversial idea like legalization, but may do so in the privacy of the voting booth.

Support for Prop 19 was stronger among men (55%) than women (45%), stronger among people under 50 (55%) than over (45%), and stronger among Democrats (60%) and independents (53%) than Republicans (36%). Prop 19 garnered majority support from blacks (54%) and whites (51%), but not Hispanics (45%) or Asians (44%).

Not particularly surprisingly, support for legalization correlates with support for liberal positions on other social issues. More than three-quarters (76%) of people who described themselves as liberals supported Prop 19, while only 27% of conservatives did. Nearly two-thirds of people who oppose the Tea Party (64%) and support abortion rights (65%) said they would vote for Prop 19. But the measure also won majority support from both gun owners (54%) and non-gun owners (51%).

Geographically, the poll showed the strongest support for Prop 19 in the Greater Los Angeles area (56%) and the San Francisco Bay area (53%). Support dropped under 50% in the Central Valley (45%) and in inland Southern California (38%).

Most of the polls so far have shown Prop 19 leading, but having a tough time getting over the 50% mark. Still, that suggests that Prop 19 can get to that magical 50% plus one by winning over even a very small percentage of undecided voters -- so long as it can keep the voters that it has and get them to the polls.

Read more of Phillip S. Smith's work at the Drug War Chronicle .

 
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