September 26, 2014

Flawed Poll Shows Oregon Marijuana Legalization ‘Too Close To Call’

September 26, 2014
oregon measure 91 legalization new approach

oregon measure 91 legalization new approachThere are not that many polls out of Oregon for the marijuana legalization initiative that voters will see on their ballots this November. Oregon Measure 91 would legalize the possession of up to eight ounces of marijuana and the cultivation of four plants. I have seen many polls out of Florida for the medical marijuana initiative there, and a few out of Washington D.C. and Alaska for the marijuana legalization initiatives there. However, for some reason, Oregon polls are few and far between. The latest poll out of Oregon was conducted by Survey USA and KATU News, which found the following:

A SurveyUSA poll conducted for KATU showed that Oregonians back legalizing recreational marijuana, with 44 percent of likely voters supporting it and 40 percent opposed. But the razor-thin margin and wide disparity of support among demographics means turnout could end up deciding whether it passes.

Seniors heavily oppose Measure 91, the poll found, with it trailing by 28 points among those 65 and older. Likely voters age 50-64 support it by a margin of 13 points, and it leads by 11 points among those 35-49.

Sixty-six percent of liberals support Measure 91, while 72 percent who identify as conservative oppose it. The measure is tied 42-42 in the Portland area, but it leads 47-38 throughout the rest of the state.

While this poll technically shows that the initiative is winning, it’s not winning by much. A poll released by SurveyUSA earlier this year found 51% support, which at the time I thought was low. I have seen internal polling for the initiative that put support closer to 57%. Why is this poll so low? There are many reasons why this poll is flawed. For starters, they didn’t poll the actual  language of the initiative, which is significant because voters aren’t going to be voting on generic language.

They asked poll participants if they were ‘certain’ to vote yes or no, and treated everyone else as undecided. The Oregon measure 91 questions only came after a series of questions for a range of other unrelated subjects. SurveyUSA always have sample issues, including the fact that poll participants are not drawn from voter lists, and SurveyUSA tries to sub on-line interviews for cellphone polling. I would love to see a poll conducted by the campaign, that had solid sampling of actual voters, and ask those likely voters how they feel about the actual language of the initiative. Anyone who knows Oregon knows that the ‘tied 42-42 in the Portland area’ is completely inaccurate.


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