Thursday, November 4, 2010

Actual Intrigue In The Election Results

Probably the most curious result of this election season occurred after the election. Are you ready?:
Voters think marijuana should be legalized, 49% to 41%, with 10% uncertain, the poll found, but were evenly split over whether they thought it was inevitable in California.

A majority, 52%, said marijuana laws, like alcohol prohibition, do more harm than good.

The problem was turnout: there just weren’t enough youth and liberal voters turning out. In light of that poll—granted, by Stan Greenberg’s outfit (a reputable, if liberal-leaning firm)—I thought this pair of posts, by Matthew Yglesias and Tyler Cowen, arguing over whether pot will be ever legalized to be interesting. Yglesias believes pot will be legalized, thinking that 46% support plus the midterm effect (midterms skew older and more conservative) bodes well for the future. Cowen thinks:
… I don't see marijuana climbing the legalization hill, if it can't make it through current-day California. We're seeing the high water mark for pot, as aging demographics do not favor the idea…

Here’s the question I have: are aging demographics really the issue here? I haven’t seen a study about the issue I’m thinking of, but I think it’s interesting: are old people conservative because they’re old, or are they conservative because they’ve always been conservative? If the latter, this bodes well for pot legalization for the future, as The Youth are liberal on this issue. If not, well, it’s interesting.

I tend to believe pot will be legalized ere long, if only because of culture. The media tends to make fun of pot and pot-users whenever it gets the chance, which if anything is more dangerous than the POT WILL KILL YOU ALL message. The media’s view is not The Youth’s view, which tends to think (if my experiences are any guide) of pot as a drug roughly the equivalent of alcohol or cigarettes, i.e. in the “Who cares?” category. Sooner or later, should The Youth become The Aged and keep these attitudes, pot will be legalized.

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