One week before election day, cannabis legalization races are tightening in all nine states with the topic on the ballot. In California and Florida, early exuberance has given way to strong, steady leads, while campaigns in Arizona and Arkansas have become too close to call.
One week is an eternity in politics—this week especially. There are millions of dollars in television ads still yet to run. And remember: Undecided voters on initiatives that call for change, like legalization, tend ultimately to go against change. They see it as the safer vote. To account for this, backers of legalization initiatives like to go into election day with at least a solid, 55 percent poll number. Few measures at the moment have such a comfortable lead.
In 2016, the fate of legalization rests on whether younger voters show up. Survey after survey has documented the massive generational split on legalization. The more voters under 65 turn out, the greater the likelihood of passage. That’s the whole ballgame. The generation gap is so great, it will make the difference between winning and losing in most states.
Wagering on political elections is illegal in the United States. (Why? See this explainer at Bloomberg View.) So we’ll present our odds in the form of a “chance of passage,” which, ahem, in no way resembles the data-wonk calculations made by Nate Silver and the crew over at FiveThirtyEight. Our calculations come from a close reading of each race; it’s just to let you know which way we think the wind is blowing.