Marc Caputo reports that John Morgan’s Medical Marijuana initiative is sporting a new look as he tries to qualify it for the 2016 ballot.
Will tweaking the wording make a difference? Perhaps.
But contrary to Morgan’s claim that “turnout wasn’t what it could have been” and that “old people, 65 and older really did us in,” what really hurt Amendment 2 was not the wording of the constitutional amendment or poor turnout, but rather down-ballot roll-off.
As this Figure reveals, support for Amendment (Yellow line) was fairly strong across the state of Florida (it only dipped below 50% in 15 mostly rural counties). The big problem for Morgan and his campaign consultants was ballot roll-off, that is, voters who cast ballots in the gubernatorial race for Democrat Charile Crist (Blue line), but who didn’t vote for legalizing medical marijuana. Support for Crist in Broward county, for example, topped 70%, and support for Amendment 2 was nearly as high. The down-ballot roll-off on Amendment 2, however, was 5.3%. Crist tallied 17,000 more votes than Morgan’s Amendment 2 in Broward. In Miami-Dade county, Crist out-polled Amendment 2 by more than 28,000 votes, as roll-off was 6.7% in the populous South Florida county. Amendment 2 failed to achieve 60% in Miami-Dade not because of poor turnout, but because of the high roll-off among Crist supporters. Across the state, roll-off on Amendment 2 was by far the greatest in Broward and Miami-Dade, strongholds for Democrats and support for the legalization of medical marijuana.
Looking forward to 2016, the electoral demographics for Morgan’s retooled medical marijuana ballot measure should be in place in a high turnout presidential election. But limiting ballot roll-off among Democrats–especially peripheral voters who come out every four years–will again be key for the deep-pocketed Orlando trial lawyer.