The campaign for Proposition 19 – the measure on California’s ballot next month that would legalize marijuana cultivation, possession and use – is citing new poll numbers it says show the measure is favored to pass.
From Public Policy Polling:
PPP continues to find Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in California, favored to pass. The margin in this week’s poll is 47/38 in favor, which does represent a tightening since July when we found it ahead 52/36. One thing that’s interesting about the marijuana polling is that it really doesn’t break down along party lines to the same extent most of the things we poll do. 56 percent of Democrats support it to 28 percent opposed and 30 percent of Republicans support it with 57 percent opposed. That’s a lot more division within the ranks of both parties than we’re seeing on a lot of stuff.
The PPP poll surveyed 630 likely California voters from September 14 through 16; the poll has a 3.9-percentage-point margin of error.
And from Survey USA:
Support for Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana and allow for its regulation and taxation, also remains essentially unchanged over the past 3 weeks. Today, 47 percent (of likely voters) vote “Yes” on 19, 42 percent vote “No.” Opposition to 19 is above 50 percent among conservatives, Republicans, tea party supporters, pro-life voters, and the oldest voters. Support is above 50 percent among men, younger voters, liberals, Democrats, pro-choice voters, higher-income voters, and in the Bay Area.
SurveyUSA – commissioned by KABC-TV Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KGTV-TV San Diego, and KFSN-TV Fresno – surveyed 1,000 California adults Sept. 19 through 21; 850 of them were registered to vote, and 610 of those were deemed likely to vote in next month’s election. The likely voters subset has a 4-percentage-point margin of error.
Prop. 19’s proponents are spinning this as good news, as the yesses outnumber the noes, but I don’t think it’s that simple.
Neither of these polls show the measure with more than 50 percent; the conventional wisdom is that a California ballot measure needs to be showing at well over a simple majority in the polls leading up to Election Day, as the election results typically underperform the polls. Prop. 19’s backers believe there’s a vast, untapped young electorate out there which will come to the ballot boxes in droves in order to support this measure; they’re very proud, for example, that the “Yes on 19” Facebook page has 177,836 friends. But not all of those friends are Californians or voters, and I’ll believe the invisible tide theory when I see it happen.
Also, the PPP poll shows the percentage of likely voters supporting Prop. 19 has slipped five percentage points since July, while the percentage opposed has grown by two percentage points; the SurveyUSA poll shows support has remained flat in recent weeks. Neither shows the kind of trending that would be good news for the measure, especially given the fact that the “Yes on 19” campaign hasn’t racked up many big-ticket donations (though it did get $50,000 this week from Facebook and Asana cofounder Dustin Moskovitz of San Francisco) and so probably can’t afford much of an ad blitz in the final weeks before the election.