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If Washington voters approve a ballot measure this fall legalizing marijuana, it would bring big changes – not just in the justice system, but in our communities.We can expect hundreds of official marijuana stores and fewer drug arrests. What about advertising? Night-life? Driving?KNKX is exploring how legalization might impact daily life – even if you never touch the drug.In our series If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life, we consider how things could change for all of us.

Legal marijuana and charter schools pulling away in latest poll

The initiative to legalize marijuana possession and set up a state-licensed distribution system appears headed to victory.

Initiatives to legalize marijuana and create charter schools in Washington are pulling away toward approval in the latest poll by The Washington Poll and KCTS9. The poll is a project of the Center for Survey Research at the University of Washington.

Initiative 502 to legalize possession of marijuana in Washington and Initiative 1240 to create a public charter school system have both increased their leads among registered voters from a poll published on Oct. 18 compared to the one released today:


  • Oct. 18 poll – 47.5 percent “yes” and 39.2 percent “no”
  • Nov. 1 poll – 55.3 percent “yes” and 36.4 percent “no”


  • Oct 18 poll – 50.9 percent “yes” and 40.8 percent “no”
  • Nov. 1 poll – 55.8 percent “yes” and 36.7 percent “no”

Matt Barreto, political science professor at UW and director of The Washington Poll, believes the key reason these initiatives are pulling ahead is advertising: One side is spending a lot and there is no effectively organized opposition. 

"So when you have a very lopsided advertising campaign like you do on 1240 and 502 there's almost been no public debate on those issues and I think that to some extent it's a disservice to voters on both those initiatives," Barreto said. "On charter schools and on decriminalization of marijuana ... there needs to be a bit more of a debate to talk about what issues are on both sides but at this point the campaigns on both of them."

Governor's race still a dead heat:

Among registered voters, Current Attorney General Rob McKenna and former U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee are still running neck and neck.

  • Oct 18 poll – 47.9 percent Inslee and 44.7 percent McKenna
  • Nov. 1 poll – 47.2 percent Inslee and 45.5 percent McKenna

Referendum 74 to allow same-sex couples to marry maintains its large lead:

  • Oct 18 poll – 56.3 percent “yes” and 35.6 percent “no”
  • Nov. 1 poll – 57.3 percent “yes” and 36.2 percent “no”

Many have voted already

The Washington Poll also reports that 33.4 percent of voters in the survey have sent in their ballots. Here’s how they voted:

  • 59.9 percent for Obama and 37.4 percent for Romney
  • 51.2 percent for Inslee and 47.8 percent for McKenna
  • Referendum 74: 60.4 percent “yes” and 39 percent “no”
  • I-1240: 56.9 percent “yes” and 40.3 percent “no”
  • I-502: 56.3 percent “yes” and 42.7 percent “no”

Our less-than-scientific polls:

The technical stuff from The Washington Poll:

The survey was administered by telephone, using live callers, based on a randomly selected list of phone numbers using a publicly available list of registered voters. Voter registration status is confirmed by all respondents. Telephone numbers are merged in and verified by a third party vendor, and include both landlines and cell phones. The survey was in the field from October 18th – 31st, 2012, and averaged 25 minutes in length. A total of 722 registered voters and 632 likely voters throughout the state of Washington were interviewed, yielding a 3.6% and 3.9% margin of error respectively. Margin of error is larger for subsamples, or split sample components. Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Our "live" election blog:

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.