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

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive 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. Fireweed says:

      These 65+ are nothing but old farts who forgot where they came from! These were largely from the 60’s generation that championed the use of pot (and other “mind-expanding” drugs) and now seem to have done a 180 and don’t want to allow for others what they demanded for themselves. I’m disappointed in their hypocracy!

    2. Bradson says:

      I turn 65 next month…thank you…and fully support legalization. I speak from personal experience, four+ decades of personal use, and disappointment that the majority of my peers are still buying the lies about cannabis. It is actually a blessing for us as we age, and I appreciate it more now than ever.

    3. Miles says:

      I think that the primary reason so many people believe that marijuana law should be left up to the states is because of a serious mistrust of our federal govt. In my opinion, it should be legal everywhere in “The Land of the Free” and, of course, that would come from the federal level. But, since they have proven, thus far on this issue, to be completely untrustworthy, I too would choose for this to be a state issue for that reason. I’ve lost all faith I may have had at one time earlier in my life for our federal govt.

      Fireweed – Your opinion of older Americans is disgusting! You have no real clue what they are like or what they believe. I’m one of them and I’m, frankly, offended! Indeed, some of the members of NORML quite possibly fall into the category of and “old fart” by your definition. Grow up! People who believe in control and prohibition come from all ages. It is true that the older population has been subjected to a great deal more propaganda and had access to less information when they were younger compared today’s younger generation.

    4. Rob says:

      65+ are people born before 1948, that means they grew up in the fifties and early sixties which was before all the radical changes in society that took place during the mid to late sixties.

    5. Joel says:

      I can think of some several causes and excuses of why an older person sometimes change, and it may have something to do with taking strong pharmaceuticals and having their grandchildren living with them because the federal government is controlling the economy and everything else.

    6. Yo Yo Bonzechi says:

      I am 65, and as friend once told me in 1968 I “barely got in the Electric Generation”. Over 65 includes everyone from 65 to 100. Much too large a demographic. They should split that into three ten year sections and see what the results are.

    7. Galileo Galilei says:

      So the good news is the generation brainwashed against marijuana are dying off. The bad news is I’m one of them.

    8. Rob says:

      No sir, this group is from the 50s. They grew up in a society where marijuana wasn’t around at all. They were grown adults with children when weed finally showed up which is why they don’t like it.

      The same group of people draw their views on minorities, gays, and women from the same time period & life experiences.

    9. Cat Cassie says:

      How is it that 82% believe we are not winning the war on drugs and yet 45% still want this nightmare to continue?

    10. If people in their 40s and up would stop being a bunch of Sissys, stop being afraid and try Cannibis you would never ever stop using it again in your life. Most everything youve ever heard about Marijuana is a lie and I can assure you that if you have aches and pains, arthritis, Phlebitis, Swollen joints and ankles that hurt every single day of your life you owe it to yourself to find some Marijuana and smoke it or eat it. You will feel better than you have felt in years and you will find with a little bit of experience and moderation you can use a little of it all the time, everyday and still function like a normal human being only with less pain. You might once again enjoy living instead of just aching your way to the end. Trust me its worth it. Ive been using this for over 30 years and find it more and more beneficial every single day.
      Get away from Prescription pain killers they’re deadly and will kill you without question. Their are time when Rx pain killers are needed dont misunderstand but for most of the aches and pains Marijuana is far better and you can NOT die from its consumption, thats one of the best parts. Do yourself a favor, get some Marijuana and help out your friends and neighbors to understand what a benefit it can be for them.