Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Page | Page Different Rates of Change by Cohort Older cohort is slow to change Baby boomers are rapidly becoming supportive
California Proposition 19 (2010): Poll Results Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Page | Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older. Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired.
Nearly Half of CA Voters Still Supported Legalization Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Page | Regardless of how you feel about Proposition 19, do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not? OR Regardless of how you feel about Proposition 19, do you think marijuana should be legalized? Proposition 19 (Based on election results) Support for Legalization (Based on GQRR post-election survey) -8 +8 Source: California post-election study
Would Have Been Much Closer in Presidential Year Regardless of how you feel about Proposition 19, do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not? OR Regardless of how you feel about Proposition 19, do you think marijuana should be legalized? Proposition 19 (Based on election results) Proposition 19 (Re-weighted to reflect presidential year turnout) -8 -2 Source: California post-election study
Colorado Time Series Medical MJ ballot but not counted (1998) Yes on Legalization Ballot Support Medical Marijuana Support for Legalization Passed Medical MJ (more liberal) (2000) *Note: The original medical MJ initiative was placed on the ballot but votes were not counted b/c a state court ruled that not enough signatures had been collected for it to qualify for the ballot. Passed Dispensaries (2010) Rejected Legalization Initiative (2006)
“ Public Education” seeks to change views about social or political issues
It is similar to marketing, except the product here is an idea rather than a tangible good
Because we are seeking to change voter opinion about a specific policy change in advance of an election , a more precise term might be “advance voter education”
WHY VOTER EDUCATION?
We have run 24 marijuana initiatives in recent years, with the result split evenly between 12 wins and 12 losses.
EVERY marijuana victory began at or near 60% support
CA 1996, AZ 1996, OR 1998, WA 1998, NV 1998, AK 1998, ME 1999, CO 2000, MT 2004, MI 2008, MA 2008, AZ 2010
Where support began below 60%, we lost EVERY time
NV 2002, 2006; CO 2006; SD 2006, 2010; WA 1997; AK 2000, 2004; OR 2004; CA 2010
Even with support starting at 60%, we lost on occasion
OH 2002, OR 2010
Today, NO initiative states have 60% support for legalization or decrim, and very few have such support medical marijuana
But, a handful of states are near the threshold of support for significant reforms
Public Education is necessary to change the ground before the campaign begins
Change voter opinion about a specific policy reform in a particular state
NOT improving general attitudes about marijuana or marijuana policy
NOT speaking to a general audience
NOT speaking to a national audience
Public Education vs. Political Campaign
Takes place 1-2 years BEFORE election
Targets swing voters
Message = indirect or informative, making swing voters more comfortable
Activities include (1) identify targets, (2) test messages, (3) paid communications, (4) measure result in changed opinion
Outcome: shift overall opinion among a discrete group by 5-10 points and build intensity of support
Takes place mainly in the 6 month lead up to the election
Message = remind supporters why they agree with us and ask them to vote YES
Activities include (1) draft ballot measure, (2) collect signatures, (3) build coalition and grassroots, (4) generate earned media, (5) advertise on eve of election, (6) mobilize supporters to vote
Outcome: maximize YES votes on election day
How to Talk About This Issue
Consistently and across multiple states, two arguments emerge as the most convincing;
Legalizing and taxing marijuana would allow state and local governments to generate millions of dollars a year in additional tax revenue and help pay for things like public education, health care, law enforcement and drug treatment prevention
Legalizing marijuana for adults would free up millions of dollars in law enforcement resources, allowing police and prosecutors to go after violent criminals. It would also free up jail space so that we can keep violent offenders in prison
It is important to recognize that most voters are hostile to marijuana and believe it is a social toxin; in the near-term, the key is convincing voters who do not like the drug to support it anyway.
Voters need to believe a new marijuana distribution system will be controlled.
Need to provide reassurances on driving issues (“driving while high”), access to children and work place safety.
Strongest Response: “same way alcohol is regulated” (CO) 78 12 I am going to read you specific provisions that could be included in ballot language for a measure to reform marijuana laws in Colorado in some way. For each one, please tell whether it would make you more likely to support a measure reforming marijuana laws in Colorado, less likely to support a measure reforming marijuana laws in Colorado or if it would make no difference either way? Net: +66 Regulates marijuana the same way that alcohol is regulated, such as no marijuana can be sold to minors, only licensed distributors can sell marijuana at state regulated stores, strong penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana and maintaining the right of employers to fire employees who come to work impaired. *Data From Colorado Survey Much More/Less Likely Somewhat More/Less Likely
Writing Good Ballot Language
Even when supporting reform, voters want to hear some reassurance that the distribution system will be controlled.
Using language that treats marijuana "like alcohol" proves very effective (and familiar) in reassuring voters. This is one of the most important findings of the Colorado work.
Most important is language around keeping marijuana away from children.
Voters want marijuana to be taxed, but not the degree that it is counterproductive. A $50 tax, for example, seems punitive and counter productive because it will create the same black market and crime problem that legalization is supposed to reduce.
Voters are more ambiguous about protecting the rights of legal marijuana users, particularly child custody rights.
Language allowing home cultivation of marijuana is an overall liability, but the base react strongly to home cultivation prohibition.