Despite the fact that the initiative received almost 58% of the vote, it still lost due to the fact that Florida requires at least 60% of the vote. By all accounts, the measure was very close to passing. Organizers plan on running a similar initiative in 2016 unless Florida’s Legislature steps up and passes a meaningful medical marijuana bill, which is clearly something that a large majority of Floridians want.
If the Florida Legislature drags their feet, which every state legislature is known to do, then 2016 will hopefully see a new and improved campaign. Many activists have pointed out things that the campaign could have done better. One of the first things the campaign will need to do is analyze exit polls from Election Day to see who voted ‘no’ on the initiative, and come up with ways to chip away at those demographics. NBC posted a great article breaking down voting by demographic. Below are some of the results:
- 62% of voters 65 and older voted ‘no’
- 63% of ‘conservative’ voters voted ‘no’, with 60% of Republicans voting ‘no’
- 63% of Republican women voted no, along with 58% of Republican men
- 53% of ‘White Protestant/other Christian’ voted ‘no’
It’s fairly obvious who opposed medical marijuana in Florida the most – older, conservative, Protestant white people. The 2016 campaign needs to pour over that data and come up with ways to find less than 3% of voters they can swing to the ‘yes’ side. Something that a lot of veteran activists have called for, and I’d add my name to that list, is to work more with Robert Platshorn and his Silver Tour network. They also need to put Cathy Jordan and Irv Rosenfeld in front of voters and media early and often. Those three people were under utilized during the campaign, which had they been utilized more, may have changed the outcome of the election.