Poll: California effort to legalize pot falling short | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Poll: California effort to legalize pot falling short

Cathy Bussewitz
Associated Press Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A Field Poll released Friday suggests trouble for supporters of a California ballot proposition seeking to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The survey found 48 percent of likely voters oppose the initiative while 44 percent support it. That is far from the level of support typically needed at this stage of a campaign, said Mark DiCamillo, the poll’s director.

“When you’re starting out behind, the odds are against you, so that’s going to be a tough one to pull off,” he said.

Proposition 19 would allow adults to cultivate marijuana and enable local governments to regulate and tax sales of the plant to raise revenue. Proponents have said the proposal could generate $200 million per year, but others say the amount would be lower. California already allows marijuana use for medicinal purposes.

Voters also are skeptical of an oil company-funded initiative that seeks to suspend the state’s landmark global warming law. Just 36 percent support the effort, while 48 percent are opposed.

DiCamillo said both initiatives face difficulties because propositions with less than 50 percent support early in the campaign tend to lose. They are among 10 propositions that will appear on November’s general election ballot.

An $11.1 billion water bond placed on the ballot by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers is favored by just 42 percent of voters, although many had no opinion. The Republican governor recently urged lawmakers to pull the bond off the ballot, saying the state’s high unemployment rate and $19 billion budget deficit would hurt its chances of passing.

He wants to delay the vote until 2012, although the Legislature has not yet acted on his recommendation.

A wide majority of voters is supporting a proposition seeking to change the state’s budget process. Among likely voters, 65 percent said they would approve Proposition 25. The constitutional amendment calls for a simple majority vote in the state Legislature to approve a budget, rather than the current two-thirds majority. It retains the two-thirds threshold for raising taxes.

Just 20 percent would vote no on the proposition, while 15 percent remain undecided.

DiCamillo was surprised by that finding because a poll in January found likely voters evenly split on the idea of requiring a simple majority vote to pass a budget. He said support for the initiative might have increased because it also calls for docking lawmakers’ pay when a budget is late.

If voters approve it, lawmakers would permanently forfeit their salaries and daily expense reimbursements until they pass a budget.

The telephone survey of 1,005 likely voters was conducted June 22 to July 5. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points and a higher margin for subgroups.

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