CA Prop 19: Pot Legalization Poll Finds Perennnial Faultline Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ – Results Are Eerily Similar to Prop 8’s Two Years Ago

A poll from Survey USA [PDF] that was sponsored by televisions stations in several California markets, including KABC in Los Angeles found that support for Prop 19, the ballot initiative that would legalize pot in the state, has remained steady since the same survey polled voters three weeks ago:

Just about every California politician you may have heard of is against Prop 19: GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former (I suppose) pot-smoker himself; Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer; Attorney Gen. Jerry Brown and his opponent in the governor’s race, Meg Whitman; and Sen. Boxer’s opponent, Carly Fiorina.

Support for Prop 19 is at 47 percent, while opposition is at 42 percent, and 11 percent have yet to make up their minds.

Below the top results, what struck me, however, was how the pollsters described the various voter sub-groups in each camp. This is a nearly perfect capsulization of the perennial divide in the California electorate, Us vs. Them:

  • Them, 42 percent who oppose prop 19:

    Opposition to 19 is above 50 percent among conservatives, Republicans, tea party supporters, pro-life voters, and the oldest voters.

  • Us, 47 percent who support Prop 19:

    Support is above 50 percent among men, younger voters, liberals, Democrats, pro-choice voters, higher-income voters, and in the Bay Area.

That leaves a third group, of course: The 11 percent of folks that have not yet made up their minds — and as usual, it’s this group that controls the destiny of the rest of us on this issue and others.


Prop 19: Legalizing Cannabis in California Could End Mexican Drug War

ad-yes-on-prop-19From a Washington Post op-ed Hector Aguilar Camín, editor the Mexican magazine Nexos, and Jorge G. Castaneda, a former Mexican foreign minister and now a lecturer at NYU:

On Nov. 2, Californians will vote on Proposition 19, deciding whether to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. If the initiative passes, it won’t just be momentous for California; it may, at long last, offer Mexico the promise of an exit from our costly war on drugs.

The costs of that war have long since reached intolerable levels: more than 28,000 of our fellow citizens dead since late 2006; expenditures well above $10 billion; terrible damage to Mexico’s image abroad; human rights violations by government security forces; and ever more crime. In a recent poll by the Mexico City daily Reforma, 67 percent of Mexicans said these costs are unacceptable, while 59 percent said the drug cartels are winning the war…

Proposition 19 changes this calculation. For Mexico, California is almost the whole enchilada: Our overall trade with the largest state of the union is huge, an immense number of Californians are of Mexican origin, and an enormous proportion of American visitors to Mexico come from California. Passage of Prop 19 would therefore flip the terms of the debate about drug policy: If California legalizes marijuana, will it be viable for our country to continue hunting down drug lords in Tijuana? Will Wild West-style shootouts to stop Mexican cannabis from crossing the border make any sense when, just over that border, the local 7-Eleven sells pot?