The most recent swing-state poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University from September 25 through October 8, revealed that a large majority of registered Florida voters are in favor of legalizing the use of medical cannabis in the Sunshine state.
This super majority approval in Florida, which is great news for residents who want to see a medical marijuana amendment on the 2016 ballot, is on track with the numbers released from polls in two more key swing states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where 90 percent of voters reported being in favor of legalization.
Only 51 percent of voters polled in Florida responded in support of legalizing cannabis for recreational use. While 51 percent is not enough to pass an amendment in Florida, where 60 percent of the vote is required to pass a state constitutional amendment, it still seems as though cannabis policy reform is in the future for Floridians.
The Quinnipiac poll also revealed that the number of voters who report that they “definitely would not” use marijuana if it was legal has decreased since the April 2015 poll. Whereas in April 81 percent of participants said that they would not use marijuana if it was legal, only 65 percent still felt that way in October. Fewer than 10 percent of voters stated that they would definitely use cannabis if it was legal, and another 19 claimed they would “probably use.”
There has been a lot of hysteria lately concerning Florida’s Amendment 2 which would legalize medicinal marijuana for Floridians. Critics, opponents, and multiple news outlets have recently cited polls showing a lack of support for the medical marijuana amendment, but how credible is this polling data?
The highly cited Gravis Marketing says that support for the bill is only at 50% but some say the company has a questionable history. The Democratic Underground had this to say about Gravis Marketing:
“Ultimately, we believe that Gravis Marketing is the last of a long line of shady enterprises pursued by Doug Kaplan and a merry band of small-time hustlers, a band marked by the sketchy personal pasts of its individual members and a constant pursuit of the fast, and almost invariably, dishonest buck.”
One might also question who incentivized Gravis Marketing to conduct these polls. After all, nobody works for free and their advertising slogan reads, “Giving you the campaign responses and results you want.” With millions of dollars flowing in to the state from anti-marijuana billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the poll results can most certainly be bought.
Aside from over-citing a less than reputable polling firm, a closer look at the numbers shows that support for medical marijuana is polling more strongly than opponents would like to suggest.
The vote needs 60% approval by Floridians for the constitutional amendment to take place. We looked at a collection of 16 polls pertaining to the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida conducted over the last 12 months. Aggregate polling data shows that 69% of Floridians support the initiative while only 24% oppose it. Just over 6% of voters remain undecided.
Headlines stating that “Amendment 2 Is Done” are overstating the implications of each new poll. A look at the aggregate data from the last two months alone reveals that likely voters are supporting the amendment 72% to 25%.Averaging the poll results without weighting numbers based on sample size does not add up, even though some people want you to believe it does.
Whether Amendment 2 passes in Florida will be determined after November 4. In the meantime, do not believe the media hype that the bill has been defeated just yet. There are many tools for opponents of marijuana policy reform to use in order to discourage supporters of the amendment, and fooling them into thinking their votes will not count next week, is at the top of the list.
In less than one month, Floridians will have the right to vote in support of or against medical marijuana in the sunshine state. Amendment 2 will only pass if the super-majority, 60%, vote in favor. A public poll of 471 likely voters conducted by the University of North Florida between September 29 and October 8, 2014, resulted in 67% saying they would vote “yes” in support of Amendment 2.
This means that for the next three weeks, both sides of the vote will be spending an obscene amount of money to sway voters.
The pro-marijuana group, People United for Medical Marijuana (United for Care), has raised $6.25 million in funding this year. Upwards of $4 million of that was already spent collecting signatures for the amendment to even be on the ballot in November. This group is trying to raise more money now to be able to release a television advertisement campaign to combat the one released by the opposition last week.
The anti-medical marijuana committee, Vote No on 2, released a $1.6 million dollar television campaign last week that will strike fear into the hearts of all who view it. The crime-scene investigation style visuals and sound effects used in this advertisement are frightening, no matter what the point is. If the words were replaced with happy thoughts about puppies and rainbows, it would still be scary.
The ad makes many far stretched statements about “loopholes” in Amendment 2. According to the ad, some of these “loopholes” would allow people of any age (including teenagers) to purchase medical marijuana for any condition, whenever they want. One very interesting statement, from the ad, says,
“They don’t call it the drug dealer protection act, but they should.”
This accompanies another completely false statement,
“Its caregiver provision gives legal protection to marijuana dealers.”