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How Reliable Are Proposition 19 Polls

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A new poll was released concerning California’s Proposition 19 earlier this month, which showed the legalization effort passing by a 47% to 43% margin. That is quite a slide from a poll that was released by the same research company in April, which showed the legalization effort passing 56% to 42%. So what has happened? Here is what SurveyUSA, who conducted the polls, has to say: “Ballot measures are difficult to poll; opposition to many ballot measures increases as election day approaches. Voter reaction to Proposition 19 can be expected to shift as both sides begin to advertise the pros and cons of passage.”

Below is a chronological history of the polls I could find online:

4/20/10, SurveyUSA
Passing 56% to 42%

5/16/10, Public Policy Institute of California
Passing 49% to 48%

05/26/10, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner
Passing 49% to 41%

6/29/10, Reuters
Failing 50% to 48%

7/8-11/10, SurveyUSA
Passing 50% to 40%

7/9/10, The Press-Enterprise
Failing 48% to 44%
*Interesting information that was also found in the poll – Voters in L.A. County were nearly split on the issue, with 47% saying yes, 46% saying no. Meanwhile in the San Francisco Bay Area, voters overwhelmingly support the prop, voting 53% yes and 38% no. That nearly the opposite in other parts of the state including San Diego (39% yes, 54% no), Northern California (37% yes, 49% no) and Central Valley(36% yes, 54% no).*

7/23-25/2010, Public Policy Polling
Passing 52% to 36%
*Interesting information that was also found in the poll – 64 percent of those polled voted for Obama or a third party in 2008, 38 percent claimed to have consumed marijuana previously.

8/9/10-8/11/10, SurveyUSA
Passing 50% to 40%

8/31-9/1/10, SurveyUSA
Passing 47% to 43%

It’s hard to know what to think from the polls. It is a midterm election year, so the incumbent party is likely to take a substantial hit. Conservatives are going to be out in full force, while Democrats will be more likely to stay home. This is the biggest election in the marijuana movement when you consider the California Governor and AG race. With only a handful of weeks left until Election Day, only time will tell…it would be a scary world with a Whitman/Cooley scenario and no Prop 19…PLEASE TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO VOTE YES ON PROP 19!!!

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