POLL: Americans Evenly Split on Marijuana Legalization, But Overwhelmingly View It As State Issue

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director November 14, 2012

    Polling data released Tuesday by Rasmussen Reports shows the American public is now evenly split on the issue of marijuana legalization, with 45% in support, 45% opposed, and 10% undecided. This is up 5 points from the previous time Rasmussen polled this language in 2009, when the issue received just 40% support to 46% opposition.

    However, an overwhelming amount believe the issue or marijuana legalization should be left to state governments. 60% of respondents replied that it was best left to the states, while only 27% thought it was an issue for the federal government.

    Rasmussen also found that a minuscule 7% of Americans think the United States is winning the war on drugs, 82% stated the country is not winning, and 12% are not sure.

    This poll was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from November 9th-10th and surveyed 1,000 Adults nationwide.

    Also released this week was a new ABC/Post poll that had support for legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana at 48% support to 50% opposition amongst all adults.

    Both of these polls show similar trends in support for marijuana legalization. Support for these policies is clearly still being held down by the 65+ demographic, who, in each survey, were the only age group to not have plurality support for legalization. In the Rasmussen poll, 49% of those ages 18-39 supported legalization, along with 48% of those 40-64. Support plummets amongst the 65+ crowd, who only support legalization by 26%. Similar trends were seen in the Post/ABC poll, where the 65+ age group were the only group to fall below 50% support for marijuana legalization, they instead opposed it by 67%.

    These surveys also highlight the still present gender gap in legalization support. In both surveys women’s support trailed behind men, by 12 points in the Rasmussen poll and by 9 points in the Post/ABC poll.

    37 Responses to “POLL: Americans Evenly Split on Marijuana Legalization, But Overwhelmingly View It As State Issue”

    1. brentandrews says:

      Galileo, love your comment. Laughs. That is indeed a situation.

      I guess my parents are “old” and would have been against legalization but they saw that the pot plan helped me kick booze – my worst habit. Elders who have seen pot work in their own families generally are supportive. But it takes something remarkable to counter the many years of propaganda they have suffered against marijuana.

      I hate to see our old people die. I think we need them. And they are coming around to our way of thinking. Ethan Nadelmann knows how to bring them in. Follow his advice regarding the elderly and marijuana. I report on them here:

      In Drug Law Reform, ‘The Elderly Are the Future’

    2. jayman says:

      Don’t hate on people over 65. My wife is 68 and her sister is 72. Both support legalization. Both are progressive. Isn’t it the conservatives who are more likely to oppose legalization? I seem to remember that the Gallup poll showed 67% of those who call themselves liberal or progressive support legaliztion, regardless of age. Let’s be careful about lumping anyone over 65 together and calling them “old farts.”

    3. Anon. says:

      My dad, God rest his soul, grew up during the 50’s. He always told us to “stay away from that crap – it’ll kill ya.” Yet, up until he had his stroke, he was smoking about 2-3 packs a day, and all his life he ate gravy, sausage, and just about any other grease-containing food. You gotta think, they were born in the 1930’s. So they were just like us, but with tons less facts like we do now. My grandparents were duped, after probably generations of hemp and cannabis farmers, into believing that this “devil weed” would destroy the very fabric of our nation. So in turn, they ingrained it into mom and dad’s souls that it’s bad beyond possibility. My mother knows the truth, and is in agreement with legalizing this wonder-plant (she’s 73, BTW). As more and more truth comes out, the propaganda will continue becoming less and less accepted by all communities at large. It’s actually already started, because more and more people in authority around the globe are looking at it as if it’s some kind of bad, sick joke.

    4. knowa says:

      Please sign the White House petition to let Marc Emery complete his sentence in Canada

    5. StinkyMink says:

      Unfortunately an entire brainwashed generation will have to cease living before cannabis is throroughly legalized in the United States.
      Some older generations wont budge on their anti-cannabis stand despite the evidence of its medical benefits ( that ironically benefits them the most at that level) in thier face and they dont care about the decriminlization since they arent the ones whose lives are being ruined by bogus possession laws just because we have to fill those jails.

    6. St. Nick says:

      Fuck these people who think weed’s bad! They’re like people who have never had love all bad mouthing it and putting it down. We got a big portion of Earth’s people that are sociopathic. They’re probably just against it so our time is fucked up or something!

      Weed is good for you because it is similar in chemical structure to the chemicals released when people eat and get full. It’s good for you. And necessary. How many thousands of good uses including medical does pot have. Does Alcohol or Tobacco have ANY good uses considering it’s so dangerous? NOPE. Because of these good things pot should be legal.

      It’s as valuable as gold AND you can grow it.
      Think positive, keep making it better and never stop until it’s as legal as alcohol.

    7. Over50voter says:

      Recognize that folks who grew up in the 40s and 50s and are white grew up in a racist society where anything associated with black culture was reviled. Given the fact that harry anslinger got cannabis outlawed using racists sterotypes, it does not surprise me that older folks think that cannabis is bad.

      My father is 79 and he still holds his vaues from the 1950s, i am sad to say.

      However, i agree with i voted for legalization. I am not going to sucked into pharmaceuticals as i age because then i am dependent upon government funding to provide me those drugs.

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