(Rasmussen Reports) Sixty-one percent (61%) of Likely Voters in Colorado favor legalizing marijuana if it is regulated the way alcohol and cigarettes are. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the Centennial State shows that 27% of voters oppose legalization even with government regulation, while 12% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
It might be a squeaker, but we may also get legalization in Washington State as well. It’s interesting to me that I-502 in Washington is polling worse (or not… see update below!) than A-64 in Colorado, given that Colorado’s initiative includes home growing and does not include the per se DUID provision that Washington’s initiative includes. The more liberal legalization initiative is polling better!
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer) I-502 is leading by a 50-37 percent margin, according to Public Policy Polling, a lead that is built on an unusual three-legged stool of support from young voters, male voters and a libertarian-minded chunk of Republican voters.
By a margin of 55-37 percent, men favor the marijuana measure, compared to a much narrower 46-38 percent tally (with 16 percent undecided) among the state’s women. Republicans break 10-82 percent against same-sex marriage, but 22 percent say they support I-502.
UPDATE: This post requires an update, as I am guilty of comparing apples to oranges. Notice how the 61% support is for a Rasmussen poll of general legalization questions. The same outfit that polled in Washington – Public Policy Polling – has the Colorado Amendment 64 with a narrow 46-42 lead in support. By these data, the Washington initiative is polling better than Colorado, not worse.
I highly doubt that it is the Patients Against Pragmatism vote that makes Washington poll lower than Colorado. I think it is more likely that Coloradans have seen a large-scale regulated marijuana system in operation for years now and aren’t afraid of expanding that to all adults. In Washington, they are still deciding whether people collectively cultivating or being caregivers for one patient at one time as they stand in line at a storefront is a “dispensary”. There is a well-established and accepted system in the Seattle area, but in the eastern areas of the state caregivers are raided.
The politics of marijuana could weigh heavily in the presidential election. Colorado is a swing state, fairly evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats with a large number of independents. Fox News reports that it is troubling situation for President Obama and Governor Romney as they compete for the Centennial State’s 9 electoral votes.
The November ballot question asking Coloradans to legalize marijuana cuts two ways for Obama. It could draw younger voters to the polls, boosting the president and down-ticket Democrats. It also highlights the Obama administration’s conflicting signals on states that buck the federal marijuana ban.
On a late-night television interview with Jimmy Fallon that aired the same night, Obama laughed off a question about marijuana legalization. “We’re not going to be legalizing weed — or what — anytime soon,” the president said.
Romney has never smoked pot or used illegal drugs, a campaign spokeswoman said, and he has called marijuana a “gateway drug.” He recently stumbled into the marijuana debate when he visited an oil rig in northeast Colorado and was visibly taken aback when a Denver TV reporter asked him about marijuana.
“Aren’t there issues of significance that you’d like to talk about?” Romney replied, his smile not hiding his annoyance.
And in Washington State, another hot-button social issue – marriage equality for gay people – could have implications on the marijuana legalization vote. Washington and its 12 electoral votes are pretty reliably in the Obama column, but could dissatisfaction for Obama’s anti-medical marijuana actions depress as much of his base his support for marriage equality energizes? Then there will be an energized social conservative base coming out to vote for the anti-gay referendum who will also be anti-Obama and anti-legalization. Washington’s chance to pass legalization looks pretty tenuous to me.