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Feedback requested: drug policy ballot initiative survey

We've received a kind offer to run some polling for free, and we're looking for input on what questions to ask (background on this project here).

Draft questions below, feel free to make comments in this doc or in the thread.

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Framing: "Would you vote for or against the following ballot initiatives?"

Answer choices:

  1. Yes, for the proposal

  2. No, against the proposal


  • Civil Penalties for Hallucinogenic Mushroom Possession. Initiative Statute. Requires civil penalties instead of criminal penalties for possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms under state law. Fiscal impact: reduced criminal justice costs, impact varies depending on various factors.

    Notes:

    • Probably should get rid of (or refine) the "fiscal impact" section, but that's in the ballot summary of every initiative


  • Medical Legalization of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms. Initiative Statute. Exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate hallucinogenic mushrooms for medical treatment recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Fiscal impact: no significant fiscal impact.

    Notes:

  • Civil Penalties for Drug Possession. Initiative Statute. Requires civil penalties instead of criminal penalties for certain drug possession offenses under state law. Allows criminal penalties for these offenses if person has previous conviction for crimes such as rape, murder, or child molestation. Fiscal impact: reduced criminal justice costs, impact varies depending on various factors.

    Notes:

    • Weird that this doesn't specify which drug offenses, only "certain" offenses

    • Cribbed language from prop 47

    • Same issue with "fiscal impact" sentence

 

Comments (5)

Comment author: Khorton 20 September 2017 09:18:03AM 1 point [-]

If possible, I'd reduce the reading age of the questions by using simpler words and shorter sentences. I consistently overestimate the reading ability of average citizens.

If these statements were really on a ballot, people would likely have seen advertisements or news clips about the proposal. Right now, people have never heard these proposals before. It's important that they understand what you're asking.

Comment author: Michael_S 20 September 2017 01:38:33PM 2 points [-]

I disagree. I believe good ballot measure polling should more accurately reflect the actual language that would appear on the ballot. There's a known bias towards voters being more likely to support simpler language.

Unless this is an extremely expensive measure (which is probably won't be), I don't think that assumption is correct. Most voters will probably never hear about the initiative before they see it on the ballot/will have seen a cursory ad that they barely paid attention to.

Comment author: MichaelPlant 24 September 2017 04:28:32PM 0 points [-]

Could you make it clearer what you want us, as forum readers, to be doing?

Comment author: aspencer 26 September 2017 03:09:19PM 2 points [-]

In my interpretation, the OP is asking us to review the questions they're asking and give feedback on the questions.

The desired nature of the feedback on the questions is unclear, but on their website they describe the initiative as "a research project assessing the hypothesis that the world would be better if more people had experiences with psilocybin."

I imagine this means that they want us to help them design questions that assess this hypothesis.