Yesterday on The Daily Weekly we noted a recent poll conducted by Seattle-based firm Elway Research indicating Oregon's Measure 80 - which would broadly legalize marijuana use and cultivation in the state - doesn't have the support that Washington's I-502 enjoys.
However, not everyone is completely sold on the numbers the Elway poll produced - specifically spokesman for the Yes on 80 campaign Roy Kaufmann.
As the Oregonian reports, the recent Elway poll indicates Measure 80 -- also known as the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act -- is currently opposed by 49 percent of Oregon voters, with only 42 percent responding in favor. The poll surveyed 405 "likely voters," and has a plus or minus margin of error of five percentage points. Elway conducted the poll Thursday through Sunday.
While Kaufmann is hesitant to come off as just another biased campaigner bent on critiquing poll numbers that seem unfavorable, he points out a few key issues that may have swayed the Elway results.
Most notably, Kaufmann questions whether a poll reaching mainly people with landlines and those inclined to answer middle-of-the-day calls from blocked numbers can fully take into account the youth vote - a demographic that widely supports marijuana policy reform and legalization.
"When you talk about a poll of people with landlines and who answer blocked calls, by definition you're talking about an older population," says Kaufmann. "If you look at national trends, voters 18 to 35 (years old) tend to be much more supportive of legalization and repealing prohibition."
In addition to younger voters the Elway poll may have missed, Kaufmann says many older voters are hesitant to state their support for marijuana legalization over the phone with a stranger - something he refers to as the "fear factor." Kaufmann says between 3-5 percent of voters may have succumbed to such fears when asked if they support marijuana legalization by Elway pollsters.
"There's a definite subset of people weary of stating support for an initiative like marijuana legalization, which has been considered taboo for years, and years and years," says Kaufmann.
Also not to be discounted, according to Kaufmann, is the number of new college-age voters in Oregon - which he estimates to be between 80 and 85 thousand - and voters for third party candidates like Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, who have both campaigned extensively in Oregon and been vocal in their support of Measure 80. Kaufmann estimates young, first-time voters could account for roughly 10 percent of the votes needed to pass Measure 80, and predicts disenfranchised third-party voters will likely lead to M-80 "picking up quite a number of votes" as well.
For those inclined to take the Elway numbers at face value, however, the question becomes: Why is Oregon's pot legalization measure not receiving the same support that Washington's I-502 is? The Oregonian, whose editorial board, in panning the initiative, referred to Measure 80 as "sweeping and a bit surreal, like Willie Nelson meeting Willie Wonka," notes that some of the problem could be based on the fact c is less restrictive than I-502, in that it allows for the cultivation of personal marijuana gardens and doesn't place a limit on how much weed someone can possess.
While Kaufmann acknowledges such differences could play a factor, he says there's nothing reckless, irresponsible or dangerous about Measure 80. Kaufmann says both Oregon and Washington's legalization efforts are worth supporting, because they both represent a move away from our currently failing marijuana policies.
"If I was a Washington resident I would absolutely support I-502," says Kaufmann.
"We tend to get fixated on small differences, which leads to infighting and wasted energy," he continues, specifically about the difficulties I-502 has found in winning over Washington's established marijuana community thanks to its DUID language and other regulatory provisions. "States have to take the lead [in ending the failed war on drugs]."
So, with Election Day right around the corner, and despite what the Elway poll suggests, how does Kaufmann feel about Measure 80's chances? He says it all comes down to the youth vote and "quiet supporters."
"I think we have a real shot at surprising a lot of people," says Kaufmann.