clock menu more-arrow no yes

Marijuana ballot initiatives in Oregon, Alaska, Florida, and DC hinge on young voters

A young person votes.
A young person votes.
Joe Klamar / AFP via Getty Images

Younger voters could decide whether marijuana legalization and medical marijuana measures succeed in Alaska, Florida, Oregon, and Washington, DC, today.

Consider recent polling out of Oregon. An Elway Research poll had the legalization initiative losing, although within the margin of error, at 44-46. A DHM Research survey, meanwhile, had the initiative winning 52-41.

What explained the difference? As the Oregonian reported, the Elway poll had a sample showing that 70 percent of the electorate will be 51 or older, while 58 percent of DHM survey's sample was 45 or older. The latter poll, the one skewing younger, had better results for legalization.

The results shouldn't be breaking news to anyone following the battle over marijuana policy. Younger people have long been more likely to support legalization, according to the Pew Research Center:

marijuana demographics

Fully aware of these numbers, advocates of legalization have focused on trying to get young people, who are are less likely to vote in midterm elections, out to the polls. Whether those efforts are successful could decide the fate of marijuana in 2014, particularly in closer races like Alaska and Florida.