Automated Polls Show Consistent Support For Prop. 19

Likely voters voice majority support for Proposition 19 by a margin of 56 percent to 41 percent when presented with an automated questionnaire, according to an internal poll conducted by EMC Research on October 13-14. The same poll, which sampled views of 1,403 respondents, reported less support when voters were asked to state their opinion to live interviewers.

The contrast in voters’ responses on automated surveys versus live calls likely explains the discrepancies in recent poll results. For example, the most recent Survey USA automated poll, release on October 18, shows Prop. 19 leading 48 percent to 44 percent — a margin that is consistent with previous automated polls. The result conflicts the results of a PPIC live poll released one day previously that shows Prop. 19 trailing in voters’ opinion.

New York Times analyst Nate Silver previously wrote on this trend, dubbing it the “Reverse Bradley Effect,” which postulates that voters overall — and certain blocks of voters in particular — are uncomfortable telling strangers how they would vote on controversial policies.

Our allies at Firedog Lake have further analysis here:

Automated Polls Show Prop 19 Winning 56-41: Anti-Marijuana Stigma Could Be Throwing Off Live Polling

I have previously speculated that Prop 19 might be do better in polls conducted without live interviewers. There is still a stigma in many communities attached to marijuana use which could make some voters embarrassed to tell a stranger over the phone they plan to vote for legalization.

PPP and SurveyUSA ,which use automatic interviews, have consistently shown greater support for the initiative. We have seen recently that SurveyUSA, using mostly automated interviews, found the measure winning 48-44 while PPIC, using live interviews, had it losing 44-49.

This internal polling from the campaign confirms not only that interviewees seem to be lying to live pollsters, but also that this effect is quite pronounced among certain groups — particularly young voters. In live interviews, voters under 30 support the measure only 49-37. But in the automatic interviews, young voters support Prop 19 by an enormous 73-22 margin.

In general, ballot measures tend to be very difficult to poll. The social and legal issues associated with marijuana use makes things even more complicated. The ability to do a straight-up comparison of the results of automated versus live interview polling helps explain some of the wild discrepancies we’ve been seeing in Prop 19 polling of late. The results provide very positive news for supporters of the measure, and if they are correct, Prop 19 will likely become law.

Yet the results also a reminder that we should treat all polling on this measure with a healthy dose of skepticism, given how hard it appears to be to get accurate information on how people truly intend to vote come election day.

As noted previously, the outcome of Prop. 19 most likely depends on voter turnout, and young voter turnout especially. We’re eight days away; help us make history!

29 thoughts

  1. Basically, NoBama and HO-lder spread his fear, and made sure a study that mirrored what he wanted would go public.

    It’s hard to say how this is going to turn out.

  2. Hey Cali voters; Please get out and vote yes for the rest of us in the USA! Yes I understand that ya’ll have it pretty much legal already and Prop-19 isn’t perfect but please remember most of the rest of us are still smoking Mex-Swag and this is bad for our health. If Cali legalizes completely the rest of the US will start to follow but if you don’t legalize this will set the rest of us back so far. I live in MS and we will never see Legal Weed or at least a better quality unless you Vote Yes on Prop-19. We need Cali to take the lead as always. Please don’t let us down. Think of others instead of just yourselves.

    Sincerely, Bhonze

  3. Another point, Dont these polls use land line telephones? The people who use land lines are majority over 40 years old. Younger voters are a large % of the vote, and they use cell phones…

    [Paul Armentano replies: Most pollsters call both land and cell lines.]

  4. It is unbeleivable that we talk about the right of half (!!!) the population to use a natural herb for medecine and pleisure than chemical drugs or drinks and cigarettes.
    Half of the entire population !!
    the point is that the other half that does not have need or relation with cannabis is deciding about the life of the others fellow brothers or sisters..
    it doesnt concern them…. its not their problem and obviously after all these years of lies they have no information most of them.. they know what the propaganda said…
    Even if one…. yes one person needed herbal cure we all should care to make his or her life easier and not to throw them in jails..
    I read a care giver’s comment who said No !! to legalization because of some selfish reasons..
    keep in mind dear friend ownwer that we too are here and we still suffer and incredible reefer madness over here..
    the socialist government that was supposed to be more democratic is the worst enforment we ever seen..
    there is plenty of grass down town sold by emmigrants but it is the absolute mix with all kind of poisonous chemicals..
    there is no chance to find anything normal but the black market sell grass with formole !!!! you know… what they put to dead bodies… what??? surprised ??? yes.. thats reality here with cups to be arest-crazy for pot… its their easy victim.. now that the streets are full with hungry armed criminals they show some with the innocent… that is our reality mister clinic ownwer and you .. yes you as a voter maybe participated in this action worldwide that destroyed the lifes of many… i wouldnt be able to sleep if I was you and i would scream for justice.. not just care for your own profit..
    good luck sisters and brothers of California.. in this dark days lead the way. We are here reading all news and hoping for your wise choise.
    greeding from rainy Ellas (Greece)

  5. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 22, 2010

    CONTACT: Tom Angell – (202) 557-4979 or
    Sasha Horwitz – (415) 343-5940 or

    Yes On 19 Internal Poll Shows Majority Support for Marijuana Initiative
    Results Reveal Voters More Likely to Voice Support for Prop. 19 in Automated Polls Than to Live Callers

    OAKLAND, CA — The Yes On 19 campaign today released an internal poll showing that likely voters support the initiative to control and tax marijuana by a margin of 56-41 when presented with an automated questionnaire but are less likely to state their support to live interviewers.

    “As the polling shows, there still seems to be somewhat of a social stigma attached to marijuana and the politics surrounding it,” said Dan Newman, a political strategist working with the Yes On 19 campaign. “We’re confident that when Californians find themselves in the privacy of voting booths on Nov. 2, they will vote to end decades of failed and harmful marijuana policies. Very few people think the current policy is working.”

    ….and the anti – marijuana candidates are losing so please …DON’T VOTE FOR BOXER or eat your KELLOGG’S .

  6. got to have kaya now.. kaya kaya
    got to have kaya now.. kaya kaya
    I got to have kaya now… but is full of formole..

    (its the blues of the correctly enforced citizen..
    sorry dearest Bob Marley for the song..)

  7. New Poll: Stealth Voters Pushing Prop 19 To Win 56-41
    Legalization David Downs — Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 12:39 PM The results of a new poll by Prop 19’s backers say thousands of such voters might be saying “no” when asked, but voting “yes” in private. Prop 19 is winning 56 to 41 in an automated poll of 1,043 respondents, according to a new poll by SurveyUSA.

    Please don’t vote for Whitman or any bribed Politicians like , Boxer .

  8. Polls are not the most accurate things to project how an election is going to turn out.The one thing that truly does matter is for each and everyone one of you living in California to VOTE YES on 19. You have the power to change the world. “The whole world will be watching”.

  9. i hope the automated polls are right please california vote yes on prop 19 marajuana legalization is long overdue medical caregivers quit worrying about your profits and vote with your hearts the rest of america needs california to be first so it spreads across the whole usa

  10. I do not live in California, so Prop 19 does not apply to me. However, Of californian’s I ask this :
    1. Please keep in you minds the Damage done not ONLY to California but to the rest of America from the Violent Gangs that Plaque’s our streets.

    2. To keep in mind We are also oppressed by government.

    3. To keep in mind the Horable Killings of thousands of Mexicans, that is still on going.

    4. To keep in mind our Econamy and what help that Prop 19 can give is better than Spending Money that we don’t have on a War that we can’t win.

    5. To keep in mind that in this Issue you DON”T stand alone.

    And Finally I ask you to remember that When you Go Vote on Nov. 2 That Our hopes and hearts go with you. If I was californian, I would Say “YES ON PROP 19”

    Go california Lead us into a Better way of Life.

  11. I read an article somewhere where the author named the “reverse bradley effect” (the effect where people tend to give the result they think a live pollster would want to hear) the “Broadus Effect” after Cordozar Calvin Broadus AKA Snoop Dogg haha!

  12. Go California! It will spread across the country, including Michigan (my home). Make the alcohol pushers compete with home grown pot. They will lose. F them.

  13. CNN recently (2-3 weeks ago) had one of those ‘text message’ polls about decrim.

    of over 300,000 votes,
    72% in favor, 28% against.

  14. I allready voted!!! A week ago. FTW!!! scrapiron, I’m over 40, and yes I use a cell phone, daily lol. My folks are in their 70’s never smoked cannabis and they are voting YES also. Why throw a dumb 18 yr old kid to prison on a Cannabis charge where its a breading ground for recruitment into violent gangs. Prohibition is whats ruining these kids life far more than cannabis itself.

  15. If you think about it; if Prop-19 passes in Cali, not a lot changes for them it just makes it harder for children to get it. The whole point for Cali to legalize is so it can spread across the nation like a wild Weed! It would get so out of control that the Nation would have no choice but to Legalize. That Is What SCARES THE HELL OUT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT!!! Think about it then vote yes for Prop-19!!!

  16. Californians please Vote YES on Proposition 19. If not for California do it for the rest of your country! Awaiting outcome for my State to join in.

  17. Please California vote yes on Prop 19!!! The rest of the country will follow. Help us here in Midwest, Vote Yes!!!

  18. Vote YES on Prop. 19 The rest of the country needs the kick start. “It’s the Right Thing To Do.” (Fl.)

  19. People are still scared shitless about being open for fear of retaliation by government and whoever else is looking at them and are ready to rat on them. If everyone who really supported cannabis would jump on the band wagon would – the wagon would run over prohibs and squash them like a bug.

  20. Can you feel it? It’s the rumble of a social revolution!
    Going to the polls is the American equivalent of storming the Bastille only this time, we light up when we’re done.

  21. If I was an American living in California it would definately get my vote! Luckily I’m living in a liberal country already – but am in antcipation of the outcome.

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