A new poll that shows high support by Arizona voters for medical marijuana is unlikely to be challenged by anti-pot lawmaker Representative John Kavanagh:
The political consulting firm used by Kavanagh and his wife, Fountain Hills Mayor Linda Kavanagh, conducted the survey.
Kavanagh still hopes to pass a bill that would put the 2010 law back on the ballot for 2014, just in case voters want to reverse their decision. The new poll, like one from two weeks ago, shows that support for the law is now stronger, and opposition against it is weaker, than it was two years ago.
While the 2010 Medical Marijuana Act was passed narrowly, the new poll by Summit Consulting Group shows the law is supported by 55 percent of "likely voters," and opposed by only 39 percent. Only about 30 percent supported the idea that the program so far has caused too many problems and that Arizonans shouldn't use medical marijuana until the federal government gives the ok.
Political consultant Jason Rose says Summit, a "GOP-based firm," was chosen in part to counter criticism of potential bias in a poll on the same subject earlier this month by Public Policy Polling, a "Democratic-leaning firm." That poll found 59 percent of registered voters supportive of the law.
Chad Willems of Summit Group, who provided consulting for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the last election, says in a news release put out by Rose that he polled only voters who voted in the last two general elections, providing the "best comparison" of voters' feelings both during and after the 2010 election.
"It is considerable that public opinion has swung so substantially in just two years," Willems says. "While detractors can point to the closeness of the 2010 vote, a 16-point swing in 24 months does not suggest another narrow margin of victory. While anything can happen in a campaign, especially two years out, it's clear from this survey that today voters in Arizona support this law."
Kavanagh paid five-figure bills to Summit Consulting during his 2012 race, campaign finance records show. Mayor Linda Kavanagh's campaign records also detail payments to Summit.
We assume that Kavanagh, a retired cop, doesn't care much about the poll numbers. He's probably just looking for political points from his right-wing constituency, which he'll get whether or not his proposed ballot measure ever goes before voters.
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We hear Kavanagh is concerned about the economic health of the state -- but if that were true, wouldn't he be asking voters to repeal some of the mandatory spending laws Republicans are always complaining about?
Fact is, back in February, Kavanagh told the Arizona Capitol Times that voters would be suspicious if the Legislature asked them to reconsider ballot measures that have already been approved:
Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he supports the idea of subjecting initiatives and referendums involving money to reauthorization by voters but doesn't think the public would go for it.
"Voters tend to be a bit pessimistic about things that come out of the Legislature," he said.
Now, rather than target bills that prevent lawmakers from managing the state's money as they choose, Kavanagh wants voters to reconsider a law that brings in money -- and one that a poll done by the consulting firm used by Kavanagh shows is supported by a majority of "likely voters."