Cannabis News The November Coalition
  Democrats Look To Cultivate Pot Vote in 2012
Posted by CN Staff on October 06, 2010 at 06:43:45 PT
By Peter Wallsten 
Source: Wall Street Journal  

cannabis California -- Democratic strategists are studying a California marijuana-legalization initiative to see if similar ballot measures could energize young, liberal voters in swing states for the 2012 presidential election. Some pollsters and party officials say Democratic candidates in California are benefiting from a surge in enthusiasm among young voters eager to back Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in certain quantities and permit local governments to regulate and tax it.

Party strategists and marijuana-legalization advocates are discussing whether to push for similar ballot questions in 2012 in Colorado and Nevada—both expected to be crucial to President Barack Obama's re-election—and Washington state, which will have races for governor and seats in both houses of Congress.

Already, a coalition of Democratic-leaning groups has conducted a poll in Colorado and Washington to test the power of marijuana measures to drive voter turnout.

Ballot measures typically don't increase turnout on a mass scale. Still, strategists in both parties argue certain ballot measures can help activate targeted groups of voters and campaign volunteers in numbers that can be significant in close elections.

Democratic strategists liken the marijuana effort to the 2004 ballot drives to ban gay marriage in Ohio and 10 other states. Whether those measures helped then-President George W. Bush win that year remains a point of debate, as turnout was high even in states without the issue on the ballot. But many conservatives say the measure drove thousands to the polls in Ohio, the election's central battleground, where Mr. Bush won by just two percentage points, or about 118,000 votes.

Now, some Democratic strategists say marijuana legalization could do the same for their party. Should they move forward in 2012, they likely would have the backing of liberal philanthropist Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance Cos.

Mr. Lewis said through a spokesman that changing marijuana laws is "emerging as one of the leading national issues in the coming years.…Change is inevitable and my priority is to make that change positive."

Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, conducted a survey in late August to test the effect of the California measure on voter turnout. In her poll, a quarter of Democrats said they were "extremely interested" in voting in this year's elections for governor and senator. When told about the marijuana measure, the number jumped to 38%, she said. She found no effect on Republican turnout.

"Moving forward, these kinds of initiatives could have a coattail effect for Democratic candidates," she said. She declined to say who hired her to test on the marijuana issue, saying just that it was a pro-Democratic group.

Surveys by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling suggest California voters under 30 years old are more likely to vote this year than their counterparts in other states. People in that age group make up 11% of California voters likely to turn out in November—compared with 8% of the likely electorate or less in Illinois, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Michigan, all of which have competitive statewide elections. In the last midterms, in 2006, voters under 30 were 6.5% of the California electorate, according to data compiled for the non-partisan Field Poll.

Tom Jensen, polling director for PPP, said the results suggest the marijuana initiative is driving voter interest among those under 30. He said the interest may be boosting Democratic candidates, particularly Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), who has built a lead over GOP challenger Carly Fiorina recently.

The trend was identified in recent days by Jon Walker, an analyst at the liberal blog Fire Dog Lake, which has been pushing for marijuana legalization. Mr. Walker wrote that "the evidence is strong" that Proposition 19, not California Democratic candidates, was mobilizing young voters.

Blair Butterworth, a Democratic consultant in Washington state who works with legalization advocates, estimated a pot ballot measure could drive up youth turnout by two to four percentage points—enough to influence a tight race. "It's not like a home run. But with elections being so close these days, it's a big difference," he said.

Democratic pollster Andrew Myers found in a December 2009 survey in Colorado that 45% of Obama "surge voters"—people voting for the first time in 2008—said they would be more interested in turning out again if marijuana legalization were on the ballot. "If you are 18 to 29, it's far and away the most compelling reason to go out and vote," Mr. Myers said.

Still, these conclusions are under debate, even among Democrats. Roger Salazar, a Democratic consultant advising police chiefs and businesses on an anti-legalization campaign, called the evidence for increased turnout "largely anecdotal." "There are a lot of pot-smoking voters—but not that many," he said.

Few political candidates support marijuana legalization. In California, the Democratic and Republican candidates for Senate and governor oppose Proposition 19. Mr. Obama opposes legalization and would face political pressure to challenge the law if Proposition 19 passes.

A recent Field Poll said Proposition 19 was favored by 49% of likely voters and opposed by 42%.

Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Author: Peter Wallsten
Published: October 6, 2010
Copyright: 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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Comment #8 posted by Paint with light on October 06, 2010 at 19:33:49 PT
comment #4
"Marijuana users are not famous for being motivated to do much of anything,..."

Willie Nelson, Paul McCartney, Louie Armstrong, Richard Lee, Keith Stroup, etc., previous and current(?) stoners Gates and the Woz might disagree.

This is pure cultural myth and BiaS.

At one time in our history African Americans were thought to only have talents for singing and dancing.

I wonder who will be the first stoner president and bring cannabis into the White House functions the way alcohol has always had a front row seat and a place in the glasses.

Instead of toasting to someone they could toke to someone.

Re-legal like alcohol is in the white house.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on October 06, 2010 at 17:23:10 PT:

Get it in writing.
Seriously. Get whatever promises they make in writing. For we've been down this road before. It's becoming obvious to even the dimmest bulb in the political box: Just as we've been saying here for years, cannabists represent the single largest voting bloc in America. Always have, simply because we cross almost all demographics. Not only that. We're angry. We're motivated. And given half a chance, given a real shot at ending the nightmare, we'll swamp the polling booths. Make no mistake: we constitute the REAL swing voters.

Just one problem...

The 'Big Chill' of the past 30 years could not have happened without tacit Democratic Party support (if not enthusiastic cheer-leading). A lot of our blood is on their hands. And now they want our vote?

Not without a firm commitment to re-legalization, in writing, in their blood, if necessary. No more games. They're starting to take us seriously, but not seriously enough. It's time for hardball...

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on October 06, 2010 at 13:18:09 PT
Remember Obama said change comes from the bottom up not the top down. That is what we are doing and I believe he won't interfere or he would have Gil talking out about Prop 19 like Bush had Walters going around and trying to stop our momentum.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #5 posted by FoM on October 06, 2010 at 13:11:54 PT
They just brought up legalizing marijuana to help Obama on MSNBC. They will be talking about it soon. I say put marijuana on the ballot in every state that you want to lean towards the Dems in 2012.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 06, 2010 at 13:09:34 PT
Democrats Try To Fire Up the Stoner Vote
October 6, 2010

Marijuana users are not famous for being motivated to do much of anything, but the Democrats are hoping they might be able to draw them to the polls in 2012 with the alluring scent of legal weed.

In California, some pollsters are saying that Democrats are experiencing a boost from young voters motivated by Proposition 19, California's marijuana legalization initiative, on the ballot in November. Strategists are considering pushing for similar initiatives in 2012 for battleground states like neighboring Colorado and Nevada in an effort to motivate a typically apathetic but largely liberal population of marijuana supporters.

Tom Jensen, director of Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, suggests that voters under the age of 45 are more likely to turn out in the California elections and support Proposition 19, and that that could bolster Jerry Brown for governor and Barbara Boxer for Senate. But, he cautions, the party divide among these young voters isn't as distinct as stereotype would suggest.


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by The GCW on October 06, 2010 at 09:20:03 PT
Dem's better before the Repub's get smart.
I don't know if the Repubs are able to get smart though... But if the Repubs stake a claim on the cannabis issue, it will hurt the Dems!

There's absalutely no doubt, re-legalizing cannabis on an election ballot will bring out additional voters that are often younger citizens.

The question is, where is OBAMA on the issue. Today, He's against. He's gotta know this issue is right in front of Him since so many of His questionaires have put the issue in Hi lap!

The question is, will many of those voters show up and vote for the cannabis issue and ignore OBAMA?

If Obama will abandon Me, I may abandon Him.

Ending cannabis prohibition and extermination is one of the most important issues of Our time.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by CropReport on October 06, 2010 at 08:30:12 PT
Care to make a wager , Mr. Salazar?
"There are a lot of pot-smoking voters—but not that many," he said.

How about we bet your job?

Another dumb-ass consultant talking about things he knows nothing about. Whoever embraces the cannabis user/voter scores a win in 2012. -Crop

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 06, 2010 at 07:41:27 PT
Let's Get It Done
Go Dems!

[ Post Comment ]

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