Like: On the Internets, Prop 19 is More Popular Than Any Politician in California
Proposition 19, the California initiative to legalize, tax and regulate cannabis, is far more popular than any politician or ballot measure this up for a vote this November—at least on the social networking behemoth Facebook. As of this writing, the ”Yes on Prop 19” Facebook page has 170,083 fans–far more than any other campaign out there. Second place? California’s Republican Gubernatorial candidate, eBay millionaireMeg Whitman with 108,825 fans, followed by Democratic nominee, former governor Jerry Brown with 73,822 fans, and incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer with 34,870 fans.
By way of comparison, Proposition 23, a very important and highly debated ballot measure to greatly weaken California’s climate change law, has generated only a fraction of Prop 19’s interest on Facebook. No on 23, “Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition,” has 5,419 fans, while ”Jobs First,” Yes on 23, page has 5,088.
The important point is not only that the “Yes on Prop 19” page is the most popular California political Facebook campaign this cycle, but that the online energy around legalizing marijuana is so incredibly one sided. The ”No on Prop 19” page has a mere 673 fans. That is only 0.4 percent the size of the pro-Prop 19 fan base.
The fact that Proposition 19 has more Facebook “likes” than Meg Whitman is remarkable when you consider that Whitman has so far spent over $80 million on her campaign while less than half a million has been spent supporting Prop 19.
Clearly, there is a huge groundswell of interest in marijuana legalization online that surpasses any candidate or other issue this election. The big question is whether this strong online support will translate into votes. If there are large numbers of infrequent or new voters that do plan to turn out in November to support Prop 19, they could be getting overlooked by pollsters using traditional likely voter models, greatly throwing off the poll results.
Win or lose, if this November brings a large Prop 19-inspired turnout in California, I suspect many politicians all over the country will take a moment to re-examine the political calculus of supporting or opposing marijuana legalization.