One Question Survey 1: Prop 19
The Prospect One Question Survey on Prop 19, the measure to legalize and tax cannabis for those over 21 showed some interesting results.
First, the Prop passed with Prospect readers by a margin higher than state polls indicate.
However, the second fact throws that number in to doubt. There were 51 visits, but only 25 completes.
Social scientists know that people answer survey questions differently depending on the context they are asked. Typically, people will answer an anonymous survey question most honestly than one where they have to take ownership, or worse, face a person asking the questions.
Cannabis still has a lot of stigma; cannabis use has been associated with the working and poor classes, particularly non-Whites, for eighty years. During the Vietnam War, cannabis use was one way of telling the hippies from the good guys. The Federal government spent millions to convince people that the herb caused laziness, sexual promiscuity, and would eventually lead to heavy drug use and communism.
Stigma takes a long time to die; when White only drinking fountains were banished in the South it was a long time before either Whites or Blacks would use a drinking fountain, because they were unsure how to avoid the stigma they’d become accustomed to.
We think that might be one reason why half the people who observed the question didn’t vote.
Another reason might be that they were stoned and couldn’t find the “submit” button at the bottom of the page. Sorry, we couldn’t resist.
Further, very few people even visited the survey page, so it’s possible people just didn’t care enough to vote.
Finally, of the 25 who did answer, 5 weren’t eligible to vote in California.
We did get 4 great comments;
1 I use to think it would be a good idea but have decided adding another drug to quiet the masses is not a good idea... being stoned means you are complacent and don't really care... we should tighten up on alcohol too...
2 the "cure" is worse than "the problem"
3 No way. If we are going to legalize it for recreational use within the state, then the state should not be able to tell me how much I can buy, or how big of a space I can grow it in, or how much I can have on me. I'm not told how many cigarettes or alcohol I can buy or have on me, so I shouldn't be told how much of this either. This sole intent of this law is to give more power to the corporations and raises all kinds of other issues - and I'm not going to give the corporations any more power. It makes no sense to vote for a bad law just because it appears to be making baby steps in the direction it should. This is a bad law.
4 Take the money out of it all.
These 4 comments nicely sum the different ways of looking at the issue.
In the end, what is our prediction, based on this poll? If we assume that the people who visited and didn’t vote either did return and visit later, or they won’t vote at all on Prop 19, then we can suggest that deducting the 5 ineligible voters from only the “yes” side still provides us with 55% in favor of passage, and 45% opposed.
But, that’s a pretty wild supposition, the kind I will only make for money.
In truth, figure that at least some of those who visited but didn’t vote intended to vote against Prop 19 and they simply didn’t want to contribute to the Prospect so they didn’t take the poll. That means it will fail overwhelmingly in Sierra County, perhaps as much as 60% against. Or, perhaps our Magic 8 Ball is wrong! Ask again later!