Ohio Marijuana Poll Reveals Conflicting Support

Ohio is less than one month away from a critical vote that will decide the fate of marijuana legalization in the state. On the ballot are two contradictory initiatives: Issue 3 and Issue 2.

Backed by the group ResponsibleOhio, Issue 3 would legalize recreational marijuana in the state, but limit the number of cultivators to 10 preselected interests. Crafted by the state legislature, Issue 2 is an initiative meant to block Issue 3, and it has been endorsed by the group No on 3.

There has been a lot of controversial rhetoric in this race, but past the headline-grabbing issues is the real question: how do the people of Ohio stand on these two competing initiatives? The answer is a bit surprising.

According to a WKYC/Kent State Poll, support for both Issue 3 and Issue 2 is nearly identical. Approximately 56 percent of voters plan on voting for Issue 3  and approximately 54 percent of voters plan on voting for Issue 2.

Assuming this poll was 100 percent accurate, if the election were held today, both measures would pass and litigious bedlam would most assuredly break out. So why are voters supporting two contradictory measures? WKYC has put forward two potential answers:

Robust support for Issue 3 despite the ballot wording means that voters are either nonplused by the monopoly arguments, or they are setting those concerns aside when considering Issue 3 because those concerns are addressed in the vote for Issue 2.

In other words, voters either don’t buy the “monopoly” argument or they think that Issue 2 will stop the “monopoly” provision while still allowing for legal marijuana. However, even with these justifications, it is hard to see a clean outcome that doesn’t lead to legal action.

But one important thing to remember is that polls are only snapshots of public opinion and elections can prove to be more finicky. Non-presidential elections typically have low voter turnout, with poor turnout from young voters and higher turnouts for older voters.

Odds are, if the election were actually held right now, you would see significantly different results. Looking back at the polling results, the majority of voter support for Issue 3 comes from people under the age of 40.

What this likely means is that, while voter support for both measures may be equal, those only in favor of Issue 2 are more likely to come out and vote than those in favor of both measures or Issue 3 alone. The demographics of mid-term voters may give Issue 2 the boost it needs to defeat legalization.

However, anything can happen in this race; and if the polling predictions end up bearing any fruit, the contest may have only just begun.

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