Two polls released Wednesday reached differing results on what Alaska voters think when it comes to marijuana legalization.
A poll by Dittman Research found 53 percent of respondents said they would vote no on Ballot Measure 2 -- which asks Alaska voters if recreational marijuana should be legalized -- if the vote were held today. Dittman said 43 percent would vote yes, with another 4 percent undecided. The poll contacted 600 Alaska registered voters via cell and landline phones and had a margin of error of 4 percent. It was paid for by "Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2," the campaign opposing the measure that would make Alaska the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana sales.
Pollster Ivan Moore asked voters a similar question on whether they would vote to support the initiative in November. Moore found 57 percent of voters supporting the measure and almost 39 percent opposing. That poll contacted 568 voters on both cellphones and land lines and also had a margin of error of 4 percent.
The question was part of Moore's "Alaska Survey," a "multiclient" questionnaire, with different questions paid for by different groups. The marijuana question was paid for by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska, the group in favor of the initiative. Other questions in the survey included polling on the U.S. Senate and governor's race as well Anchorage housing and the oil pipeline.
Matt Larkin, who conducted the poll for Dittman Research, questioned the wording of Moore's poll question.
"When you ask Alaskans whether they "favor or oppose" and then insert a phrase referencing the protection of constitutional rights, you have significantly biased the question," Larkin wrote in an email.
In a phone interview, Moore defended the wording.
"The question is what the question is," he said. "… Those are the results with the questions asked. You can draw your own conclusions."
A poll commissioned earlier this year by the Republican state House majority and conducted by Dittman Research found 52 percent of Alaskans polled supported the measure. In February, Public Policy Polling found 55 percent of Alaskans were pro-legalization.
Polls from this summer show Alaskans more split on whether to legalize. Public Policy Polling data released in early August showed, of 673 voters polled, 44 percent were in favor of the initiative, 49 percent opposed and 8 percent unsure.
Those numbers show a slight decrease in support since May, when PPP showed 48 percent in favor, 45 percent opposed and 7 percent unsure.
Below is the full wording of the poll questions and results.
From Ivan Moore:
There is an initiative on the General election ballot that would tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana in Alaska. Criminal penalties would be removed for adults over the age of 21 who possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and constitutional protections allowing home cultivation would be preserved.
From Dittman Research:
Ballot Measure 2 is a bill that would tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana in Alaska for people 21 years of age or older. The bill would allow a person to possess, use, show, buy, transport, or grow set amounts of marijuana.
If the election were held today, would you vote for this initiative to become law -- Yes or No?