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Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Just Days Before Election Day, Polls Are Very Close For Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative

ohio signIt’s only 9 days until the 2015 election in Ohio. Marijuana legalization is on the ballot in Ohio, in a form that has not been seen before in marijuana politics. Parts of ResponsibleOhio’s marijuana initiative have created a lot of outcry from voters and specifically reformers. From what I have seen on social media and blogs, there is more support for the initiative than ever before. That’s certainly not to say that the initiative isn’t without it’s opposition from within the marijuana community, because there absolutely is. But it seems to be less prevalent than before, with many nationally known reformers expressing that they would ultimately vote for the initiative.

But that growing level of support seems to not have translated to voters in Ohio. Two polls were recently released which found the initiative to be in a deadlock, with the difference between yes and no falling well within the margin of error. One of those polls was conducted by the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics University of Akron. The poll found out the following:

• Overall, pluralities of registered voters are supportive of Issue 2 (monopoly), 40 to 28 percent with 32 percent undecided.

• Overall, registered voters are evenly divided on Issue 3 (marijuana), 46 to 46 percent with 8 percent undecided.

• Nearly two-fifths of registered voters see Issue 3 (marijuana) as the most important measure on the 2015 ballot, followed by one-third who see local tax levies as the most important.

• Registered voters report receiving more positive information about Issue 3 (marijuana) than for Issue 1 (redistricting) or Issue 2 (monopoly).

Another poll released this week by Bowling Green State University found similar results. Per NBC:

The poll, conducted Friday and Saturday, surveyed more than 800 likely Ohio voters. It showed 44 percent supporting Issue Three and 43 percent opposing it. Thirteen percent are undecided. Since the margin of error is plus or minus three and a half percent, it’s a dead heat.

Another poll found solid support for Issue 3 less than a couple of weeks ago. I think that one thing is for sure, which is basically always the case with marijuana initiatives – it’s going to come down to turnout. The more people that turnout, the better the likelihood that the initiative will pass. With that being said, the same would likely be true for Issue 2, which would potentially nullify some of the provisions of the marijuana legalization initiative. All eyes will be on Ohio leading up to the November 3rd vote.

  • skoallio

    No its not a dead heat. Almost every referendum with just a plurality support loses cause undecideds always vote no. This could be a 60-40 LOSS.

    • stellarvoyager

      It could be a 60-40 loss, but that is unlikely. Similarly, it could be a 70-30 win like we saw recently in Toledo, if we’re willing to toss out just any scenario and say it “could” happen. That is very different from predicting the most likely outcome, and I’m going to predict 52+% of the vote for issue 3. This prediction is based on polling consistently showing 53%+ support for rec legalization in Ohio, and other polling showing issue 3 consistently tied or in the lead, with one showing a 56% yes vote. Average all those polls and even split the undecideds 60-40 against, and issue 3 still gets over 50%.

      It is also not true that a plurality in polling translates to a loss on election day. Oregon’s measure 91 was polling at just 43% in some polls just days before election day, with many undecided. The actual vote ended up 56%-44% in favor in an off-year election, a record level of support for any state legalization initiative.

      Some polls also showed measure 2 in Alaska losing badly just before election day. Others showed a dead heat with lots of undecided voters. We all know that the actual vote was measure 2 got 52% yes vote on election day.

      • skoallio

        Referendum polling isnt the same as candidate polling. When a candidate is winning with a plurality, its a win cause undecideds vote equally for either candidate. When a referendum has support below 50%, its always a loss cause undecideds always vote no. Any time a referendum is ahead with a plurality, its really losing.

        Look at some past referendums with a similar situation.

        The 1995 Quebec independence vote was polling at the latest with a 47%-41% lead. It lost 49.42%-
        50.58%
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_referendum,_1995

        The 2011 Mississippi abortion ban was winning 45%-44% right before election day. It lost 43%-57%
        http://ballotpedia.org/Mississippi_Life_Begins_at_the_Moment_of_Fertilization_Amendment,_Initiative_26_%282011%29

        The 2012 California vote on repealing the Death Penalty was winning 45%-38% in its latest poll. It lost 48%-52% on election day.
        http://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_34,_the_End_the_Death_Penalty_Initiative_%282012%29

        • stellarvoyager

          OK, there are several reasons why the examples you cited are different from the situation in Ohio. First, the Quebec independence vote never polled over 50%, and its support was trending upwards, and based on the overall trend, it would be reasonable to believe that the measure may have won had the vote taken place a few days later. The yes side actually slightly outperformed their polling numbers, getting a higher yes % in the election than they did in *any* poll. Furthermore, one would expect undecideds to break more heavily against a measure like seccession than one that does not lead to as drastic of a change, such as issue 3. That would be like the people of Ohio voting on whether to secede from the United States, as opposed to following the precedent of 4 other states and DC, plus their own city of Toledo recently on a similar measure.

          Contrast that with the issue 3 vote, where at least one poll had issue 3 at 56%, and the generic question of legalization is at 53% in multiple polls of Ohio, and just recently at 58% nationally. The Quebec vote did not have any poll over 50%, and the 47% poll was its high water mark.

          The California vote is a similar situation. The 45 – 38 result was an outlier, and also a high water mark for that measure. In *all* of the other polls, the measure was trailing, and getting support only in the low 30’s to low 40’s. Like the Quebec vote, the yes side too outperformed all of the previous polling, getting 48% when no poll showed the measure with more than 45%, and most were in the low 40’s. The measure was under water for most of the campaign, unlike Issue 3 which has not trailed in any poll, and which has polled well over 50% in at least one poll, and in addition, there is >50% support for the generic question of legalization.

          The link did not show prior polling data for the 3rd issue you gave, so I won’t comment on that.

          Taken together, things look close for issue 3, but I still say it is more likely than not to pass. I could be wrong, of course, but at this point the yes campaign looks to be in a better position than the no campaign. A better comparison in my opinion is Alaska in 2014, or even the 2014 Florida medical marijuana measure which was polling in the mid 40’s and trailing days before the vote, and received 58% on election day (yet still lost because it needed 60%). The big difference is that now, the political climate nationally and state wide may be even more favorable for legalization than in 2012 and 2014.

          • NickyChuck

            Props to both of you for the high-content posts! Good points made on both sides.
            To throw in my two cents, it would be a mistake to generalize the city of Toledo to Ohio as a whole, as Toledo is much more liberal. Toledo sent Dennis Kucinich (one of the most outspoken liberals in Congress) to the House of Representatives for seven terms, but obviously he isn’t viable on a statewide level.

          • colorado grower

            By voting yes to #2 you will prevent a small number of growers from controlling the market price quality and variety of
            plants available. This will hurt medical marijuana varieties available and provide for a small number of growers to control the supply . Why would you want a few to control the free market system.

        • familyguy

          in other states undecideds have split even or in favor of legalization. i expect the same results. this issue is just not of big concrrn nowdays even for conservatives.

    • Ryan R

      I think part of the problem might be that they only surveyed 800 people, that’s not really that many people when you’re trying to represent the stance of the entire state.

      • familyguy

        800 is a good number, how the survey was conducted is another story. WHAT DEFINES A LIKELY VOTER IS THE QUESTION. PEOPLE OVER 40 and excludes young people because it is assumed they are not likely voters is a mistake on this issue.

    • familyguy

      THIS IS THE ERA OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION. in an issue that quite old. everyone has a least one buddy that tokes and people now realize that their buddies do not deserve to be encarcersted solely over cannabis. get realy it ay be slim but a victiry nonetheless. GO VOTE YES ON 3. NO on two.

    • IJR

      60 seems to be your IQ, peckerwood.

  • The Truth

    One could hope that the measure being on the ballot will drive the faithful to vote. This one is for our liberty.

  • AntiIgnorant

    To the Ohio voters: Please pass this as it is much better than current prohibition. It has some room for improvement, yes. However, voting no sets this country back on the bigger picture of pressuring the federal government to change drug laws. We must reach the tipping point of more and more states legalizing. Get this done! For all of us!

  • JohnB

    Support specifically for issue 3 is just short of 75%, at this moment.

    http://fox8.com/2015/10/21/poll-finds-ohio-voters-divided-on-marijuana-legalization-issue/

    It’s not an official poll, just an opinion poll on a news article, but a similar poll on WCPO a month ago showed that, out of 770 respondents, 65% specifically supported issue 3.

    • NickyChuck

      Web polls have absolutely no bearing to actual votes. The people who vote in those don’t even need to live in Ohio, and it doesn’t even try to match who will turn out on election day. Basically, that sh*t is for entertainment purposes only.

      • JohnB

        I guess we’ll see in a little over one week.
        It’s pretty sad, however, that you felt the need to attack the post even though your very objection was disclaimed and noted in advance in that very post.
        Right, it’s just a web poll.
        I said that.

        • NickyChuck

          Then don’t headline your post with “Support specifically for issue 3 is just short of 75%, at this moment.” No, it really isn’t, because that number is about as useful as if you polled 4 of your friends and 3 of them supported Issue 3. Don’t conflate legitimate polling, which is based off of actual social sciences, with a vanity poll on a webpage. That’s beyond cherry-picking.

          • JohnB

            Hey, I specifically called the poll out for what it is.
            If anyone conflated it with some official poll, it was you.
            I very directly said it was NOT official.
            Get over yourself.

          • familyguy

            if you count the support for 3 from people that written posts here regardless of where they are fron support is still close to 75 percent. similar results are obtained even on web site that write bias anti issue 3 articles. the worst number are obtained when it is required to use facebbook to log in. that is because of an age bias. facebook is communication for old folks and even then issue 3 prevails.
            e

      • familyguy

        that is what they said in co, wa, al, or and dc. GO VOTE YES ON 3, NO on two.

  • Guest

    ” It’s not the people that vote counts, it’s the people who count the vote, that what counts.”
    Boss Tweed

    • familyguy

      just like in colorado.. you mean. go vote ohio yes on 3, no on two.

  • Ty Thacker

    90% for medicinal 54% for recreational. It will pass.

  • Acidsex

    The odds do not look good. If 50% of the undecided voters for both Issue 2 and 3 are divided equally, Issue 2 would pass with 56% and Issue 3 would be dead even percentage wise. Having said that, this election will be decided in the more con densely populated areas like Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and the like.

    The one thing I have always found fascinating (and frustrating) is early polls always show much higher numbers than what gets delivered at the polls. I remember back in the early Florida MMJ campaign, polling numbers were at 92% in favor and we all saw what happened on election day. Ohio doesn’t have the necessary margin for error. November 3 I suspect will play out very similar to Florida.

    Furthermore, ResponsibleOhio has run one of the dumbest campaigns ever. From the miserably failed attempt of using a cartoon character “Buddie” to their damn near non-existent ad buy. In the greater Cincinnati area, I have not seen one single ad on any of the networks or cable. How do they expect voters to be informed or are they making the dangerous assumption that it will automatically pass in the more urban-type cities? For an organization that boasted they were willing to spend up to $20 million to get this passed, surely they have not spent nowhere near the amount.

    Not to mention the chick in the “Buddie” costume is apparently suing them for firing her.

    I came out in mass opposition to this proposal and still do not like them or the shitty tactics they are using but for those who want legalization in Ohio, they need to vote for Issue 3 now because ResponsibleOhio has pretty much fucked up Ohio for a long time which honestly I suspect might have been part of their ploy the entire time (either their proposal or no one else’s ever.)

    • familyguy

      there has been some lessons learned since florida. remember they did get 58% of the vote. this only requies simple majority.

      • Acidsex

        Just what were those lessons that you think were learned?

    • JohnB

      I’m in Cincinnati, and I see the television advertisements constantly; they run at least twice during Jeopardy, for example. They also run during the local news.
      But I don’t have cable or satellite, just over-the-air HDTV, so maybe that’s the difference, though I would guess that the ads during Jeopardy are no different on cable than they are on broadcast.
      Can anyone clarify that?

    • Jim L

      I have seen numerous adds on all the channels in Youngstown, the odd thing is I have only seen a couple of adds against #3

  • familyguy

    lets see what these millenials are made of. if they are the future os ohio or if the same old guard will prevail. Im betting high turn-out and issue 3 passing as in other states,

  • Franklin

    I agree with you Johnny Green. It’s going to come down to who actually turns up to vote in an off year election. We know the Prohibition forces will rally their people to vote against anything. Many people are more concerned with Issue 2. At least if Issue 2 fails, there can be a next year. If Issue 2 succeeds in duping the people, we might not see another Cannabis reform issue on an Ohio ballot.

  • Sinclair

    Go Ohio my neighbors my friend legalization is better for your state than the alternative.

  • Bugz

    Issue 2 grants career politicians monopoly control over the initiative process by allowing the opinion of a three person majority of a five member appointed election board to require voters to waive seven different categories ALL AT ONCE at the ballot (monopoly, oligopoly, cartel, specification or determination of a tax rate, or a commercial interest, benefit or right not provided to other similarly situated persons or entities), in order for those same voters to then be able vote on a voter proposed initiative.

    Second, the appointed board is not required to inform voters WHAT CATEGORY of the seven categories the voter proposed initiative falls under according to the appointed board’s opinion.

    Third, if after the electors (voters) approve the initiative, and the initiative is deemed to have not undergone the board’s opinion with the “waiving procedure,” ANY PROPOSED INITIATIVE CAN BE DEEMED ENTIRELY INEFFECTIVE.
    Specifically, there is no requirement in the language of Issue 2 for the appointed board to implement their opinion and then the “waiving procedure”.

    Fourth, Issue 2 removes the direct democracy from the initiative process, the only tool put in the Ohio constitution from the last state constitutional convention to keep career politicians in check! It does not protect the initiative process, but instead ISSUE 2 PROTECTS THE OPINION OF CAREER POLITICIANS regarding any voter initiative!

    Fifth, Issue 2 is a political power grab that uses the cancellation of any SCHEDULE I (marijuana) initiative as a cover for its intentions!

    Vote no on Issue 2, regardless of what you think of marijuana and Issue 3 this year!

  • vickia52

    in the end we can look at all the non voters if this thing doesn’t pass. we are doing it for the rest of the country, and world, besides ourselves. as it is if the #2 issue didn’t magically appear on the ballot by you know who, we wouldn’t be having so much dissent. of course the powers that be had to put something in there to try to stop it. i beg any and all to vote for 3, don’t think that it’ll pass without your vote, it may be the very reason that it passes or fails.

    • matt

      Agreed!
      How slick for a last minute second measure to confuse the hell out of people.
      Conservatives. They’re all alike.

  • GearinSuper

    Issue 3 for me YES, issue 2 a big NO

  • GearinSuper

    Cleveland News just reported over 90% are for Medicinal and over 60% for recreational

  • Jerm4

    Yes 3 no 2 not a monolopy stop lying where else where it come from an get started hello?? Obviously a blessing dont say no

  • Jerm4

    How could somemwthing so healthing and natural be illegal but somthing so destructive like alcohol still be here.

  • Mark

    NO on 2
    YES on 3

    • carl Caldwell

      Yes on 3 that is the best way to go out for you Right now we are going on to be free no longer wish to from the policeman? You have that right to to be able to do what you want to do it when you have any further information about this is the best time to get the chance to talk about it and notify the Ohio state!

  • Mark

    Read the Shafer blue ribbon report commissioned by Nixon March 1972 then buried by Nixon because it came back unable to find any major negatives of cannabis. Prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco.
    Far more dangerous and abused than all other drugs combined.
    VOTE NO ON 2
    VOTE YES ON 3

  • Dev O

    “John Berlng” you act like a spoiled brat little girl. Get off this blog and go to tweens R us or something. Every word you write is a waste of space, no matter how small, just a waste………..

  • Terrance Huff
    • Eric

      Why? What’s your reason. Honestly it is hard for people to get a job over smallest pot crimes. But alcohol is way worse. If anything that should be illegal. Tell me what actually does more harm? I’m honestly interested in your responds I don’t smoke but I feel it is better.

  • Michael Miller

    Living in Ohio, I asked one lady, while in the waiting room at the cancer clinic, if she was going to vote for issue 3. She said no because “the people on the street are going to sell it and they aren’t gonna let me have it anyways”. I have no idea what she meant, and my name was called so I couldn’t continue the conversation. I just wish more voters were more informed about this issue. I try to do what I can do, but I know it won’t be enough. I am not optimistic.

  • familyguy

    watch the poison spread by Cincinnati.com, Cleveland.xom, usatoday, theblade.com. the news is always bias. GO VOTE YES 3, no on two. TURN OUT IS HIGHLY IMPORTANT!

  • Franklin

    This race isn’t unlike Oregon. There was a splinter group who wanted it at the grocery store like lettuce and just would not accept that Federal won’t allow that. They almost blew it for the whole state. Remember the young lady who was adamant about her entitlement to drive while medicated? She would not accept that Federal law wouldn’t allow such a provision because she wanted it and was sure it was legal somewhere else. Oregon has a modern voting system though. Ohio? I think they are still scratching paper ballots. Those things can get lost. Chads can hang. They need a 3% cheat margin same as Florida.

  • Pickle-juice

    Well I hope all the dead heads get out and vote because half the ones I know don’t even work,they play video games all day,talking bout how they been looking for work,I believe in medical marijuana but this issue is not just medical…..

  • Eric

    Think about it honestly alcohol is way worse. Weed became illegal because it was an easier way for paper and other products it was all about the money. Think about the proabition kinda similar to what it is now.

  • familyguy

    ld rather purchase cannabis fron legal, tax paying law abidding establishments than buying weed from illegal nontax paying criminal organizations. black market weed profits are used 100 percent for supporting criminal empires.

  • matt

    They are saying on Ohio local news that a yes vote on 2 AND 3 would keep prohibition in place. Voters are totally confused.

    Also, what if each measure got less than 50% but totaled, say, 58%?

    Why put two measures on the same ballot if not to try to defeat it by confusing people or splitting the majority into two minorities???