Pot Legalization Initiative Falls Short in New California Poll

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An initiative to legalize and tax marijuana in California does not have the support to pass, a new California Field Poll shows.

Likely voters surveyed in the Field Poll said they opposed Proposition 19 by a narrow 48 percent to 44 percent. The measure would permit those age 21 and over to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana and would allow local governments to tax and regulate its commercial production and sales. As many as 77 percent of voters said they had some familiarity with the measure.

The poll reveals large partisan and demographic divides on the issue.

Democrats support the measure, 53 percent to 38 percent, while Republicans are opposed to it by a two-to-one margin, at 63 percent to 31 percent. Non-partisans, according to the poll, are divided 46 percent to 46 percent.

Men are split on the issue, while women oppose legalizing pot, 50 percent to 41 percent. White voters support Prop. 19 by a slim margin, while minority voters disapprove of it by double-digit margins. Latinos, for instance, oppose the measure, 62 percent to 36 percent.

Younger voters, ages 18 to 29, are most likely to support the initiative, although the ethnic divide remains among young voters.

Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, said the survey's results suggest a grim outlook for the measure, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

"Historically, for measures that don't start out with a lead, the chances of passage are much lower than those that start out with a lead," he said. "If they start out behind, history suggests a 10 to 15 percent chance of passing. Some do, but it's very rare."

While voters appear to be somewhat split over the issue, California lawmakers have been much more hesitant to show their support for the measure. Just three of California's 53 House representatives say they will support the measure, the Huffington Post reports.

Those members are Democratic Reps. George Miller, Barbara Lee and Pete Stark, who represent districts in the Bay Area -- the region of California with the highest support for the measure in the Field Poll. The proposition also has won the support of the state chapter of the NAACP.

Many other California House Democrats said they were open to supporting Proposition 19, the Huffington Post reports.

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