(Seth McConnell, Denver Post file)

Oregon polls: If youths show up and vote, pot legalization is more likely

Two recent polls from Oregon are presenting a telling portrait of marijuana legalization in the Pacific Northwest. What pollsters are seeing as Election Day approaches next week: If young people show up and vote, the legalization of cannabis is more likely to happen.

A new poll from The Oregonian/KGW shows that the outcome of Measure 91 is too close to accurately predict. About 44 percent of those polled support legalization while 46 percent oppose it. But that poll’s sample assumes that 70 percent of the electorate will be 51 or older.

A different poll from early-October shows the marijuana measure passing with 52 percent of the vote supporting it and 41 percent against it. And that poll, taken by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Fox 12, assumes a different age range of voter turnout with 58 percent of its sample ages 45 and older.

It’s nearly unanimous: 92 percent of patients say medical marijuana works

“Support goes down as age goes up,” pollster Stuart Elway, who runs independent polling firm Elway Research and conducted The Oregonian/KGW poll, told the Oregon newspaper earlier this week.

In 2012, young voters were a large part of recreational marijuana initiatives passing in Colorado and Washington.

Weighing polls with the right age estimates is important, as can be seen in Florida’s hotly contested vote on medical marijuana next week. In a July poll, young voters in Florida favored medical marijuana legalization 19-1. But a more thorough poll released earlier this week showed 50 percent supporting legalization and 42 percent against it — and Florida’s Amendment 2 requires 60 percent approval to pass.