Californians likely to vote in November are evenly split over whether to legalize marijuana, says a poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, the Los Angeles Times reports. The poll, which surveyed 1,168 likely voters, found that 49 percent think marijuana use should be made legal, 48 percent do not and 3 percent do not know, suggesting that the proponents of the legalization measure will have to wage an expensive and persuasive campaign.
Mark Baldassare, the institute’s president, said the results show the legalization campaign faces serious challenges: “It’s always hard to start out when you’re not even at 50 percent.” John Lovell, a lobbyist for law enforcement organizations who has organized an opposition campaign, said the institute’s poll was “very bad news” for legalization proponents. “That means they are not even winning the philosophical argument,” he said. The institute’s poll found that men favor legalization, and women oppose it. Whites are supportive, while Latinos are not. Voters 54 years and younger support legalization, older voters do not. Support for legalization also increases with income and education.