Poll: Support for November ballot proposals strong

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
Detail of Michigan Congressional maps approved by Republican-led Legislature in 2011.

A trio of proposals on Michigan’s Nov. 6 ballot are getting majority support a little more than a month before the election, including a redistricting commission proposal that has found increased backing, according to a new statewide poll.

The Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Detroit News-WDIV survey of 600 likely voters showed support for Proposal 1, which would legalize recreational marijuana; Proposal 2, which would create an independent redistricting commission to draw political boundaries every decade; and Proposal 3, which would expand voting options to include no-reason absentee voting and same-day voter registration.

Voters supported a proposal that would create the redistricting commission 55 percent to 23 percent, with 22 percent undecided. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

An early September Detroit News poll found 38 percent support for the proposal, but the latest survey included the actual ballot wording, which may have helped the measure.

The start of a television advertising campaign backing the initiative may have also helped, said Richard Czuba, pollster for the Lansing-based Glengariff Group that conducted the survey.

“If they don’t mount an opposition campaign, they definitely have the momentum on their side to pass this,” he said.

Also gaining strength was the measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, which led 62 percent to 35 percent, with only 3 percent undecided, according to the new poll. 

Supporters of an initiative to create an independent redistricting commission gather outside the Michigan Supreme Court on July 18, 2018

In the early September survey, more than 56 percent of respondents said they supported marijuana legalization, compared with 38 percent opposed.

Support for legalized marijuana has polled at 56-57 percent on average for the last two years, Czuba said

Likely voters were provided the full language of the ballot proposals, a change from the early September poll that likely is partially responsible for the uptick in support, he said.

The low percentage of undecided voters on the issue signals strong opinions, Czuba said.

“Voters know what they think on this issue already, so it’s going to be very hard to change their opinion if there’s going to be an opposition campaign,” Czuba said.

Opposition group Healthy and Productive Michigan has focused on canvassing, phone calls and endorsements, including the backing of the Michigan State Medical Society and Michigan Catholic Conference, said Scott Greenlee, head of the opposition group.

“We will reach voters through other types of advertising media at the appropriate time,” he said.

The proposal is a “bad idea for Michigan,” Greenlee said, because of the potential increased access to children, more issues for law enforcement and little to no restrictions on the potency of the pot. 

Supporters of the ballot proposal have been speaking at events across the state to dispel the “hysteria and hype” surrounding the proposal, said Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol ballot committee.

Like the alcohol prohibition, the criminalization of marijuana use has failed, Hovey said, leaving residents with the decision to continue with the status quo “or stop wasting our tax dollars and start regulating this.”

Proposal 3, promoted by the Promote the Vote ballot committee, had an overwhelming lead with 72 percent support and 19 percent opposition. About 10 percent were undecided.

This was the first time Glengariff polled on Proposal 3.

The strong support for the proposal generally crossed party lines, Czuba said, with "the only hint of opposition" stemming from strong Republicans.


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