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49% of Californians Support Legalization: Poll

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Just under half of California residents express some level of support for a ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in the state, according to a new poll.

The Los Angeles Times reported May 31 that the L.A. Times/USC poll found that 49 percent of voter support the measure, while 41 percent oppose it and 10 percent remain undecided.

However, about a third of supporters said they were only “somewhat” in favor of legalization. “The good news for proponents is that they are starting off with a decent lead. The good news for the opposition is that initiatives that start off at less than 50 percent in the polls usually have a hard time,” said USC pollster Dan Schnur.

Support for the measure is stronger among men than women, and 49 percent of married women oppose legalization, the poll found.

Californians were skeptical of claims that legalization could raise billions of dollars in taxes for the state, with 42 percent accepting the argument but 38 percent saying it is exaggerated. Only about half of voters accept backers' contention that the measure would ease social problems.

Younger voters were much more likely to support legalization (61 percent among 18- to 29-year-olds) than older residents (52 percent of voter ages 65 and older oppose the measure).

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