Nearly two-thirds of Utahns still favor Prop 2 – the ballot initiative that would legalize medical marijuana in Utah, a just-finished UtahPolicy.com poll shows.
However, as expected, formal opposition by leaders of the LDS Church has had an effect, dropping both overall support for Prop 2 and flipping “very active” Mormons from being in favor of the initiative to opposing it, finds pollster Dan Jones & Associates.
The changes in public attitude since the church came out strongly against Prop 2 on Aug. 23 have, however, solidified support for medical marijuana in several demographics.
In other words, LDS Church leaders’ opposition has pushed some folks into favoring medical marijuana where they didn’t support it before.
And it’s had just the opposite effect for others, mainly good Mormons and Republicans.
Overall, Utahns favor Prop 2, 64-33 percent, with 2 percent undecided. In May, the initiative was favored 72-25 percent statewide.
So support for it has dropped 8 percentage points.
Still, two-thirds in favor is strong support. And Jones finds those that “strongly” supported the initiative has not changed, it is now 43 percent of voters and was 43 percent last May.
There’s even greater change, however, with Utah Mormons. Jones finds:
Among “very active” Mormons – those who pay tithing and have temple recommends – the numbers have moved significantly.
Today, active Mormons are AGAINST Prop 2, 52-45 percent. But back in May they favored it, 59-38 percent.
That is a 14-percentage point swing, from in favor to oppose. That’s real movement in any poll.
Not only did Mormon leaders come out against Prop 2 in a press conference, they also sent out emails to faithful LDS in Utah – making it the first time in state history that such a direct communication on a political issue has taken place.
- Those who are “somewhat” active in the LDS faith still favor Prop 2, 71-23 percent. But in May it was 79-8 percent support.
- Among those who used to be Mormons, but no longer follow the faith, 94 percent favor Prop 2 today, only 6 percent opposed.
- Last May it was 90-10 percent support. So apostates from the LDS faith turned even further in favor of medical marijuana after their former leaders spoke.
Likewise, Catholics are more in favor today than before the LDS opposition; 93-7 percent today compared to 84-13 percent before.
- Protestants are about the same, 87-13 percent in favor today, 89-11 percent in May, or within the polls’ margins of error.
- Those who belong to some other religion clearly didn’t like the LDS Church’s stand; they were 83-14 percent before in favor, 92-8 percent today.
- Finally, those who have no religion are about the same, 95-2 percent today, 96-4 percent in May.
Here are some of other interesting numbers from the new poll, compared to Jones’ findings last May:
Republicans have moved significantly against Prop 2; today only 49 percent support it, 48 percent oppose.
But back in May GOP support was 60-37 percent.
Democrats have actually increased their support for medical marijuana, 97-2 percent today, 95-4 percent in May.
Political independents have moved slightly against Prop 2, 71-28 percent today, 77-20 in May.
Those who told Jones they are “very conservative” politically have also flipped.
- They were 59-38 percent in support last May, today they are 52-45 percent opposed, or a 14-percentage point switch.
- The “somewhat conservative” folks are still in favor of Prop 2, 57-42 percent. But in May they were in favor, 64-35 percent.
- Support among “moderates” has also decreased, 69-26 percent today, 73-23 percent in May.
- The “somewhat” and “very” liberals have not changed much, over 95 percent support in May and today.
So, to summarize, those who have flipped from support to opposition of Prop 2 are “very active” Mormons, those who are “very conservative” and, to a lesser extent, Republicans, who are now about evenly divided.
The election is nine weeks away.
Plenty of time for Utah voters to slip either more against, or more in favor, of Prop 2, legalizing medical marijuana in Utah.
Jones polled 809 adults from Aug. 22 to Aug. 31 in the new poll; margin of error plus or minus 3.4 percent.
He polled 615 adults from May 15-25; margin of error plus or minus 4.0 percent.