The Los Angeles Times/USC poll, conducted by the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and the Republican firm American Viewpoint, surveyed 441 likely voters by phone, both cellphone and land lines, from Oct. 13 to 20. It had a 4.6 percent margin of error.
Here are some explanations both sides offer for the apparent shift in voter sentiment against Prop. 19:
• Two days into the polling period, US Attorney General Eric Holder came to California to announce that the Obama administration would “vigorously enforce” federal drug laws against people who sell, distribute, or grow marijuana for recreational use – thereby making clear that pot users would still face criminal sanctions no matter what happens with Prop. 19.
• Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed legislation making possession of an ounce of marijuana an “infraction” (as opposed to misdemeanor), and voters may feel that a punishment that is the practical equivalent of a traffic ticket is appropriate – and all that needs to be done.