Capitol Weekly poll: Voters narrowly divided on open primary

A statewide survey shows that California voters are closely divided or uncertain about two hot-button issues – the so-called open primary and the role, if any, that recreational marijuana use would play in their choice of a candidate.


The latest Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research Poll shows that just over half of those surveyed, 50.3 percent, would likely vote yes on Proposition 14 on the June ballot, which would require candidates beginning in  2012 to run in a primary election open to all registered voters, with the top two vote-getters to face each other in the general election. The survey was conducted by Republican pollster Adam Probolsky in consultation with Democratic pollster Ben Tulchin.


Backers include moderate Republicans, business groups and government-reform advocates, who say the open primary would lead to less-partisan candidates and open up the electoral process. The leading opponents are the Democratic and Republican parties, who believe it will make elections more costly, limit voters’ choices and curtail voters’ right to free association.


Some 45 percent said they would vote yes, and 5.3 percent said they probably would vote yes, the poll found. About 29.6 percent said they would vote no and 2.9 percent said they probably would vote no. About 17.2 percent said they were unsure how they would vote.


On the marijuana issue, voters were asked if the fact that a candidate for public office was a recreational marijuana user would affect their decision on whether to support or oppose that candidate.


About 43.8 percent said it made no difference, and 6.8 percent said that it would make them more supportive of the candidate. About a third – 34 percent – said it would make them much less likely to vote for the candidate, and 12.4 percent said it would make them somewhat less likely to support the candidate. Less than 3 percent were unsure.


The poll surveyed 751 likely voters from April 10-13. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percent. The complete survey is available here.

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