Survey: Voters Say Yes to Decriminalizing Marijuana

Of the three questions on the Massachusetts ballot this November, only one question -- #2 the decriminalization of marijuana -- appears all but certain to pass, according to a poll analysis released today by 7NEWS/Suffolk University. Seventy-two percent favored the proposed law, which would replace the criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil penalty of forfeiture of the marijuana and a fine of $100. Twenty-two percent opposed the proposed law.

"The public may be signaling that pursuing small-time marijuana users is a waste of taxpayer resources," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University. "This issue suggests that there is a Libertarian streak in the thinking of Massachusetts voters."

Tax & dog-racing issues

Question #1, which would reduce and ultimately eliminate the state income tax, was opposed 50 percent to 36 percent, with 15 percent undecided.

"Voters considering the no-tax scenario seem to be aware of their New Hampshire neighbors' contending with high property taxes to fund programs," said Paleologos. "They appear reluctant to eliminate the income tax and risk paying more with some other tax."

Question #3, which would, beginning in 2010, prohibit any type of dog racing in Massachusetts that entailed wagering on the speed or ability of the dog, won support from 50 percent, while 37 percent opposed, and 13 percent were undecided.

Voters nix McCain-Romney ticket

On the national front, if John McCain were to select former Gov. Mitt Romney as his running mate, it could be the kiss of death for McCain in Massachusetts. When asked if voters would be more or less likely to vote for the Republican ticket if Romney were the vice presidential candidate, 33 percent said more likely, while 41 percent said less likely, and 24 percent indicated no difference. Romney's presence on the ticket moved voters positively in Western Massachusetts, while voters in every other region of the state said they would be less likely to vote for McCain.


The 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll was conducted Thursday, July 31, 2008, through Sunday, August 3, 2008. The margin of error on the study of 400 is +/- 4.9 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. All respondents from the statewide survey were registered voters form all parties in Massachusetts. Marginals and cross-tabulation data will be posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. The complete set of marginals and the 328-page cross-tabulation report will be available at noon Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.