By "Radical" Russ Belville on December 2, 2010
Did Stoners Against Legalization mobilize more vigorous opposition to Prop 19 at the polls than Sen. Dianne Feinstein?
Some interesting post-election analysis from the Public Policy Institute of California shows that the majority of people who were most interested in Prop 19 – the California marijuana legalization initiative that failed with 46% of the vote – wanted to see it fail.
(San Francisco Chronicle) According to the survey of 2,003 California voters who reported participating in the Nov. 2 election, 38 percent said they were most interested in Prop. 19, an enthusiasm level more than double that for any other proposition.
The problem for cannabis enthusiasts: 51 percent of those who said the outcome of Prop. 19 was “very important” voted no on it. Only 18 percent of those who found its outcome very important supported it. Others ranked it less highly.
“While it wasn’t a vocal opposition, the opposition harkened back to what (former President Richard) Nixon called ‘the silent majority,’ ” said Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the opposition to Prop. 19. “It was very important to a small segment of the population but not to a lot of people.”
However, when asked if they supported the legalization of marijuana, voters were equally split: 49 percent thought it should be legalized, and 49 percent thought it shouldn’t.
“But there was some wariness about the way (Prop. 19) was written,” said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. Overall, two-thirds of the voters said the wording on all the ballot initiatives was “too complicated or confusing,” according to the survey.
So you have a survey that shows voters split on legalization support at 49%, but the measure to legalize fails with 46% of the vote. That says to me that we lost 3% of the voters because of scaremongering on Prop 19. We see that those who opposed Prop 19 found it very important to oppose it, while those who supported it were lukewarm about the support.
How much of the 3% drop can be blamed on Prop 19 being called a “jumbled legal nightmare” by traditional opponents (Dianne Feinstein) vs. the “not true legalization”, “corporate monopoly”, “Soros / Monsanto conspiracy”, “Big Tobacco takeover”, and other inane ravings (Stoners Against Legalization) isn’t clear. However, voters under the age of 34 supported Prop 19 with 62% of the vote, so the chances for marijuana legalization in future elections looks promising.