Will Medical Marijuana be Crist's Prescription for Victory?

With the Florida candidates tied in the race for governor, Amendment 2 may prove pivotal in deciding the winner.
Photograph by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If former Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist squeaks out a victory in the state as a Democrat on Tuesday, he may well owe a debt of gratitude to marijuana. 

Polls show the gubernatorial race between Crist and current Republican Governor Rick Scott essentially tied. Amendment 2, the voter measure that will decide whether Florida will join 23 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing medical marijuana, could prove a boon to the  candidate–Crist–who supports it. 

The reason, analysts say, is that a greater number of people who might not otherwise vote will come out to support Amendment 2, than the number who don't participate in elections but who are motivated to try and defeat the measure. 

“With marijuana, there’s no backlash. There aren’t people that turn out to vote just to vote against it,” pollster Celinda Lake told the Tallahassee Democrat

The question is whether enough pro-medical marijuana voters will show up and cast votes for Amendment 2 and Crist. Indeed, it's possible that such voters could propel Crist to victory even though Amendment 2 might still fail to pass. The most recent St. Pete Polls survey found that 54 percent of Floridians surveyed said they planned to vote for Amendment 2, well below the 60 percent required in the state to pass a constitutional amendment. 

Quinnipiac poll released Monday found Crist leading Scott by the slightest of margins, 42 percent to 41 percent. 

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