There is good reason to be optimistic that 2012 will be a historic year for marijuana reform. In the final week before the election, marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot this year are doing much better in the polls compared to a similar initiative on the California ballot in 2010 election.

Both Washington State and Colorado have marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot and every recent poll of the two states found the respective initiatives with at least the same lead. By comparison, in the last week of the 2010 cycle the polling of Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana in California, had turned negative. The final polls of Proposition 19 all had the measure narrowly losing. After all the votes were counted Prop 19 ended up being defeated 46.5 percent yes to 53.5 percent no.

Since some of the same pollsters who surveyed Prop 19 in 2010 have also been polling the marijuana legalization initiatives this cycle it is possible to do a direct comparison. In their final polls of California in 2010 both SurveyUSA and Public Policy Polling accurately predicted how much support Prop 19 would end up getting. Both final polls had it 44 percent yes and it ended up getting 46.5 percent. A slight increase is to expected as the undecideds are finally forced to make a choice. This year the pollsters have the initiatives in Washington State and Colorado at over 50 percent support.


2010 California (10/29-31) 2012 Colorado (10/23-25)
Yes 44 53
No 51 43
Undecided 5 5


2010 California (10/26-31) 2012 Washington (10/28-31)
Yes 44 56
No 46 37
Undecided 10 7

If these two pollsters prove to be as accurate with their marijuana legalization ballot measures polls this election as they were last cycle, the initiatives in Colorado and Washington State will likely be approved.

Photo by WCHI News used under Creative Commons license.