While there are a whole host of secondary issues to California’s pot-legalization Prop. 64 on the November ballot if you want to dig into the – sorry – weeds, the proposal on its face is fairly straightforward:
Should we all be able to legally smoke marijuana in the Golden State?
So what do we voters think?
The measure will probably pass.
Most polls suggests Prop. 64 will succeed, if perhaps by a slight margin. Surveys in recent weeks show the proposition enjoys solid support, anywhere from a just-barely-respectable 51 percent to an impressive over-the-top win with 71 percent of voters backing the legalization of pot starting on Nov. 9.
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The average support hovers at around 60 percent.
But things are still in play. Newspapers throughout the state are divided in their editorials, with some endorsing the measure, including the San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times, while others are issuing calls of caution, like the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat which called Prop. 64 “a poorly worded ballot proposition that opens the door to a number of social problems and unknowns — and potentially puts local growers at a competitive disadvantage in a world where the recreational use of marijuana is legal.”
There’s also plenty of anti-Prop. 64 advertising going around, too. And California voters are known for changing course in their attitudes toward propositions in the eleventh hour; a marijuana legalization initiative six years ago polled well early but ended up losing (If you’re looking for history to repeat itself, however, 2010’s Proposition 19 was trailing in the polls by mid-October; this year’s model is still well ahead in every survey).
Here’s a round-up of the latest polls showing how voter support has ebbed and flowed, courtesy of Ballotopia:
- In February 2016, Probolsky Research found 59.9 percent of respondents favoring marijuana legalization in California. Support was highest among voters aged 18 to 34 at 79.7 percent.
Probolsky Research surveyed voters in early August 2016. Over 61 percent of respondents supported Proposition 64. Support was highest among Democratic men, at 81.2 percent, compared to Democratic women at 63.5 percent. Republican men supported it at 51.4 percent, compared to Republican women at 38.3 percent.
- California Counts found support for Proposition 64 at a high 71 percent in mid August 2016. At 81 percent, Latinos supported the measure at a higher rate than whites, at 62 percent, or blacks, at 68 percent.
- A USC Dorsife and Los Angeles Times joint poll found support for Proposition 64 to be around 58 percent in early September 2016.
- In September 2016, SurveyUSA revealed support at 52 percent. The firm found that as income increased, support for the initiative decreased. Support was at approximately 60 percent among individuals with incomes under $40 thousand, 56 percent among people earning between $40 and $80 thousand, and only 44 percent among those with incomes over $80 thousand.
- A Field Poll/IGS Poll, also in September, found support around 60 percent. Of the regions surveyed, support for Proposition 64 was strongest in Los Angeles County.
- In mid September 2016, the Public Policy Institute of California found support for Proposition 64 to be around 60 percent. A month later, the newest PPIC poll showed support dipping slightly to 55 percent.
- In mid October 2016, CALSPEAKS surveyed 622 likely voters on Proposition 64. Support among respondents was 60 percent.
- SurveyUSA found 51 percent of likely voters in favor of Proposition 64 in mid October 2016.
- Gallup’s latest survey gauged support at 58 percent, up from 12 percent from when the question was first posed in 1969. Gallup says 13 percent of U.S. adults report using marijuana at present, nearly double the percentage who reported using pot in 2013.
- And while voters in California suss out the pros and cons of making pot legal here, voters in eight other states will also be weighing on Nov. 8 whether to extend legal access to marijuana to some degree or another. In five states, the ballot measures propose to legalize recreational pot use for anyone 21 and over. Twenty-five states already allow use of marijuana for medical purposes. Three more could join that group, while one of the 25 states, Montana, will be voting to liberalize its existing law.
Get the full election rundown on marijuana initiatives on th 2016 ballot with our definitive guide.