Jon Walker at FireDogLake takes an in-depth look at the non-binding ballot question that happened in some districts in Massachusetts in last Tuesday’s election. End result? A small majority of Massachusetts voters likely support legalization.
If you’re unfamiliar with the recent MassCann advisory ballot question, the gist was that it asked voters in some areas of MA (about 8% of the overall electorate) whether they would support marijuana legalization were it to actually be on the ballot. The results came in a strong 61.4%:
In the districts where it was on the ballot, the advisory question passed with an impressive 61 percent of the vote, but these districts were on the whole slightly more liberal and pro-reform than the rest of the state.
Jon goes on to analyze what this non-binding result could mean for the ballot in 2012:
This analysis leads me to believe that a small majority of the individuals who turned out to vote this year in Massachusetts supported legalizing and regulating cannabis in the same way the state does alcohol. That is a good sign for marijuana reform given that midterm elections tend to have much lower turnouts among young voters–who are, in general, more supportive of legalization–and this midterm in particular had a higher than normal turnout among older conservatives, who tend not to support marijuana reform. For these reasons, the 2012 electorate is almost assured to been even more supportive of legalization than the 2010 electorate.
This analysis of the election results, combined with other factors, suggests Massachusetts is a strong candidate for becoming one of the first states to embrace legalization. Massachusetts is a very liberal state, has a huge number of colleges, is demographically relatively young, and contains an existing grassroots marijuana advocacy community. In 2008, the state passed Question 2, a strong marijuana decriminalization initiative, by 30 points. Most importantly, Massachusetts allows for binding statewide citizen-sponsored initiatives. There is strong evidence that if a well-crafted marijuana legalization initiative makes in onto the ballot in 2012, it could pass.
His breakdowns and analysis are really interesting and worth the read. [FireDogLake]