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Voters now oppose marijuana legalization, latest poll finds

October 20, 2010 |  5:42 pm

California voters now oppose Proposition 19, the measure to legalize marijuana, by 49% to 44%, according to the latest poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.

The poll found a sharp reversal from last month, with support dropping 8 percentage points. The previous poll found that 52% of likely voters favored the measure. That poll, coming after others found that about half the electorate backed legalization, had encouraged supporters and helped bring in high-dollar donations.

The latest poll found a drop in support across all demographic groups, but most steeply among Latino voters. In September, 63% backed it. Now, 51% oppose it.

The latest poll shows that men are evenly split. In September, men favored the measure by 16 points. Women now oppose the initiative  50% to 41%. The earlier poll found them slightly in favor.

Independent voters strongly backed the measure, 65% to 31%, in September, but they now oppose it, 49% to 40%. Democrats support the measure by 56%, down 7 percentage points from last month. Republicans reject it by 66%, an increase of 4 percentage points.

The earlier poll showed overwhelming support among likely voters between ages 18 and 34. Support in that age bracket dropped from 70% to 59% this month. Support also slipped among voters 35 and older.

Much of the change appears to have been driven by evaporating support in Southern California. In September, 56% of likely voters in Los Angeles County and 52% in other Southern California counties supported the measure. This month, those percentages slipped to 41% and 42%.

The Public Policy Institute of California surveyed 1,067 likely voters Oct. 10-17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

-- John Hoeffel

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