A new poll conducted for Oregon Public Broadcasting/Fox 12 indicates that legalization of marijuana for recreational use is headed for approval in Oregon — but only if advocates get some of their likeliest voters to turn in their ballots.
According to the survey by DHM Research, released Wednesday, Measure 91 was favored by 52 percent and opposed by 41 percent. Seven percent were undecided.
DHM pollster John Horvick said the balance rests with groups that historically have low participation in elections: Voters ages 18-34, who favor Measure 91 by 70 percent; independents, 68 percent, and first-time and low-frequency voters, 63 percent.
Horvick said if more of those voters cast ballots, Measure 91 is more likely to win, but if they don’t, Measure 91 could fail.
The telephone survey was conducted last week with 516 likely voters, defined as those who cast ballots in two of the past four elections. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. All results include “leaners” who said they are for or against a measure, but might change their minds.
Republicans, at 63 percent, were the group most opposed to Measure 91.
A different marijuana legalization measure failed in Oregon in 2012, the same year that voters in Washington and Colorado approved legalization measures similar to Oregon’s current measure,
Alaska and Washington, D.C., also have legalization measures on their ballots.
Similar circumstances apply in Measure 92, which would require labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms.
According to the DHM survey, Measure 92 was favored by 49 percent and opposed by 44 percent — within the survey’s margin of error. Seven percent were undecided.
Among those 18-34, and new and low-frequency voters, Measure 92 won 62 percent support. Republicans were the largest group against it with 61 percent.
DHM’s Horvick says if Measure 92 advocates can persuade low-participating groups to return their ballots, it can pass, but it will be close.
Both sides have waged multimillion-dollar ad campaigns.
Similar measures failed in California in 2012 and Washington in 2013, but only after campaign spending of $46 million and $22 million, the latter a record for Washington.
Oregon voters also rejected a measure in 2002 with 70 percent of the vote, although both sides say the Nov. 4 vote will be closer.
On three other ballot measures in the DHM Research survey:
• Measure 90, which would advance the top two finishers in a primary to the general election, regardless of party, was almost evenly split at 36 percent in favor and 38 percent opposed; 26 percent were undecided. Both sides have well-funded campaigns that could sway the outcome.
A similar measure failed in 2008.
• Measure 86, which would allow the state to sell bonds or other debt to create a scholarship fund for post-secondary education, was favored by 35 percent and opposed by 41 percent; 25 percent were undecided. Neither side has a well-funded campaign.
• Measure 88, which would allow four-year driver cards to drivers regardless of immigration status, was failing with 31 percent in favor and 60 percent opposed. Horvick said only 44 percent of Democrats support it, while 60 percent of independents and 83 percent of Republicans oppose it.
Results in the OPB/Fox 12 survey for governor and U.S. senator were released Tuesday.