Is Amendment 2 doomed?
Michael Ames fears the medical marijuana measure will fail Tuesday:
Florida was supposed to change the way the South thinks about medical marijuana. In late July, a full 88 percent of the state supported legalizing medical cannabis, and in early October 67 percent supported Amendment 2 specifically.* Instead, that wide margin has all but disappeared, and rather than join the 23 other states with similar laws on the books, the amendment appears to be bleeding support by the hour.
The governor’s race has hurt the amendment’s prospects:
Since it launched, Florida Republicans have suspected that [Amendment 2 backer John] Morgan’s campaign is actually an effort to pump voter turnout in an off-year election and help Crist eke out a win against incumbent Gov. Rick Scott.
Morgan denies he’s playing politics, telling the Tampa Tribune that he’s “not as smart or devious as they think I am.” And yet, when he hired a campaign manager, he picked Ben Pollara, an operative who describes himself as “one of the premier Democratic fundraisers in Florida.” Pollara served on President Obama’s 2012 National Finance Committee, was the state finance director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, and has represented Democrats including Sen. Bill Nelson, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“It has not been a bipartisan campaign,” says Pollara. “The opposition has been run entirely by Republican operatives and funded by Republican mega-donors.”
Ben Jacobs hears much the same:
Morgan has long been a power player in Florida politics and is closely tied to Crist, the former Republican governor now running as a Democrat to lead the state again. Despite Morgan’s deep pockets and political clout, the medical marijuana initiative, which was once considered a shoo-in to become law, looks increasingly less likely to pass the 60 percent threshold.
The problem, according to some Morgan detractors, is that the vote has been less a referendum on cannabis and more a referendum on Morgan, who is funding the ballot measure.
I started suggesting last week that if Amendment 2 fails, Morgan deserves much of the blame:
Yes, Morgan led the charge to get the medical marijuana initiative on the ballot, but, as the self-appointed face of the campaign, he’s done as much to turn off voters — especially the moderate female voters necessary to win 60 percent — as he has to win over converts. The trajectory of this campaign changed as soon as Morgan’s drunken, NSFW post-debate rant went viral. But it wasn’t just that YouTube video which lost voters. Morgan also hurt his cause by making Amendment 2 too much about him. Confusing recognition with popularity, Morgan has barnstormed the state debating sheriffs and other opponents of Amendment 2. Undoubtedly, Morgan, with his drawl and quick wit, thinks he won those debates, when in all actuality he lost the moment he showed up and provided such a stark contrast to undecided voters. Worst of all, there has been too much talk in the media and by Morgan himself about how this campaign has financially benefitted his law firm. That’s just gross.
Christopher Ingraham is unsure what will happen:
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has poured $5 million of his own money into the opposition campaign, fueling it almost single-handedly. On the other hand supporters have raised about $8 million, roughly half of it from attorney John Morgan. While the fate of the other marijuana initiatives rests largely in the hands of young voters, Florida’s seniors may be the lynchpin here. Given the volatility of the polls it’s very difficult to predict how things will play out, but the 60 percent supermajority requirement represents a high bar for supporters of the measure.
Jon Walker looks at the latest polls:
The worst result is from the Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Graham Center poll. It found 46 percent of likely voters planning to vote for Amendment 2 and 43 percent planning to vote against it.
The PPP poll found the measure will win majority support but below the threshold. Their final poll had the ballot measure getting 53 percent of likely voters and 41 percent planning to vote against it. The remaining 6 percent is undecided. Even if all the undecided in this poll decided to vote for it the measure would still come up just short of 60 percent.
The best final poll was from the Florida Chamber of Commerce Political Institute poll, but even that found the measure with 55 percent support to 40 percent opposed. Again just short of the very high threshold needed.
Via The Daily Dish.