CA Props: Marijuana Legalization Losing Narrowly, Anti-Gridlock Measure Winning with Voters

Californians want to fight it out on marijuana legalization, ease up on budgeting procedure and stay strong on resisting climate change, according to Field Poll (PDF) results on some of the state’s ballot initiatives. Field surveyed on four of the 10 Propositions that will be on the ballot this November.

Prop. 19: Marijuana Legalization

The poll shows Prop. 19 losing narrowly, 48-44, with eight percent undecided. Of all four ballot initiatives polled, it had the most voter recognition. A full 77 percent of those polled had heard of it. This continues the pattern we have seen in other polls, with almost all voters having an opinion of Prop. 19 and very few undecided.

Men slightly favor Prop. 19, 48-47, but women disapprove, 50-41. The Field Poll also confirms the pattern of young voters under the age of 30 heavily supporting marijuana legalization, 52-39, but those over 65 opposing it strongly, 57-33. Support divides fairly evenly for voters between 30 and 65. The success or failure of Prop. 19 will probably depend on whether marijuana legalization being on the ballot motivates young supporters to turn out in unusually high numbers.

Prop. 25: Majority Vote for State Budget

This measure to eliminate the super-majority requirement of a two-thirds vote in the state legislature to pass a budget has super-majority support among voters. Among California voters, 65 percent support the measure while only 20 percent oppose it, and only 15 percent are undecided. It even has majority support among Republican voters, 58-25. While it’s still early, Prop. 25 looks likely to pass in November.

The two-thirds requirement to pass a budget, along with the two-thirds requirement to pass tax increases, has caused nearly endless gridlock in Sacramento, perennially late budgets and unpopular horse trading to get the last few votes. It has created huge dysfunction in the state government, and it looks like the voters have finally had enough. For non-California readers, think about how extremely dysfunctional the US Senate is with its 60-vote super-majority requirement to end a filibuster.

Prop. 25 will restore a simple majority vote to pass the budget but leave in place the two-thirds requirement for tax increases. Prop. 26, which would impose a two-thirds requirement on new fees or levies, was not polled

Prop. 23: Suspension of State’s Climate-Change Law

Prop. 23 is on the ballot because two big oil companies spent millions to put it there. It is another disgusting display of corporations literally trying to buy favorable laws by using the ballot initiative system. If passed, Prop. 23 would suspend AB32, the state’s greenhouse-gas reduction law.

The poll finds California voters rejecting this attempt to gut climate-change legislation. It is currently losing, 48 percent opposed to 36 supporting, with 16 percent undecided. Democrats and nonpartisans strongly oppose the measure, but Republicans support it.

The strong opposition to Prop. 23 should send a signal to politicians in Washington, DC, where climate-change legislation is all but dead. Even while experiencing one of the worst economic downturns in decades, voters in California are still committed to regulations meant to reduce global warming.

Prop. 18: Water Bonds

The state legislature put the proposition on the ballot to approve a $11.1 billion bond measure related to water development. It is currently winning 42-32 but has a very high undecided rate of 26 percent. Only about one-quarter of voters had heard of Prop. 18 before the poll, so opinions are definitely not firm. Of all the ballot measures polled, this one is likely to see a significant change in the level of support going forward.

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