Redefining moderate voters

Jessica Peck Corry writes in the Denver Post:

Reporters and politicos – so eager to define individual voters as liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat – find themselves in a predicament: Most Colorado voters in the last election simply defied such categories.
In November’s election, 41 percent of all voters supported legalizing marijuana, a number greater than the 40 percent who voted for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez. In all, 636,938 voters wanted marijuana legalized, 11,000 greater than the number who backed Beauprez.
While once considered a rallying cry of hippies and peaceniks, marijuana legalization is now a position supported by economics professors and family physicians.

… and people are starting to notice (although the media is sometimes behind on this)

Despite such widespread support, the media unanimously held that November’s bid for bud fell flat, with headlines like “Pro-pot proposal takes a big hit” and “Marijuana amendment goes up in smoke.” Beauprez’s bid, on the other hand, was largely recorded as a casualty of a national trend where mid-term elections rarely see gains for the majority party

Her conclusions as to what the election results mean are, I think, most relevant to Colorado, and I don’t think they can yet be extrapolated to the rest of the country as she does, but they’re interesting:

The old categories may just not fit anymore. […] This “Middle Majority” is growing, now representing closer to 40 percent of America. These individuals tend to have a vibrant libertarian streak while still maintaining conservative social values in their own lives. […] Most in this group support legalization because they are tired of the government taking billions away from important priorities like education and health care, and instead frittering it away on a failed militarized drug war.

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