A new, er, high: 58% now support legalizing marijuana in Gallup poll

posted at 4:41 pm on October 22, 2013 by Allahpundit

Seven years ago, the public opposed legalization 36/60. Today, the numbers have almost flipped — 58/39 in favor, thanks to a sharp spike that followed a few years when people were split roughly evenly on whether the drug should be legalized or not. Why the sudden spike? Simple: Now that states like Colorado and Washington are experimenting with legalization and the sky hasn’t fallen, some fencesitters are getting more comfortable with the idea. Gay marriage has gained in the polls over the last 10 years for the same reason.

This is the second poll this year to show majority support for legalization, incidentally. Pew had it at 52/45 back in April, with 65 percent of Millennials (born after 1981) leading the pack. Gallup’s got similar numbers today for young voters — but they’re not the only demographic that’s changed over time.

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The majorities Pew saw in April were smaller than that — 54 percent for Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1980) and 50 percent for Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964). Gallup’s also seeing some movement towards legalization along partisan lines, although interestingly — and maybe significantly — most of the movement’s coming from independents. At 35 percent, support among Republicans has increased just two points since last November; among Democrats, it’s up four points to 65 percent. Among indies, it’s up 12 points to 62 percent, almost equal to the Dem number. They’re the fencesitters who are tilting in response to what’s happening in Colorado and Washington, I think. Democrats and Republicans will more instinctively support or oppose legalization because of their broader ideological leanings about social experimentation, but independents might simply be looking at results. If there’s no parade of horribles in states that have legalized weed, they’ll relax their opposition a bit.

Or maybe all of that’s wrong and this poll is an outlier. Two other surveys taken earlier this year showed support for legalization creeping upward but still below majority support at 45 percent or so. We’ll have to wait for another pollster to weigh in before we draw any firm conclusions. If the next poll backs this one, though, what should the aspiring GOP nominees of tomorrow do? Arguably nothing: Like gay marriage, this is one of those issues that’s likely to matter more in a primary to opponents of legalization than to supporters. You can lose votes by boldly declaring your support for legalizing it but you probably won’t win many. Then again, if you’re Rand Paul and you’re trying to balance libertarian concerns with conservative ones, maybe you feel like you need to roll the dice on this to impress the former and build your brand for the general. Paul’s said that he believes in traditional marriage; he’s taken a more conservative than libertarian line on border enforcement; and he’s mentioned the plight of Christians in the Middle East repeatedly when talking foreign policy this year. My sense is that he’s earned enough political capital with social cons from all that to get away with a modest push for legalizing marijuana, something that would potentially impress the sort of younger voters in the general whom he thinks he’s uniquely positioned among Republicans to appeal to. But maybe I’m mistaken; the danger for Paul is that his opponents will want to paint him as a peacenik and a kook, and pushing marijuana legalization gives them an easy cultural signifier with which to do that. Could be that he’ll content himself with simply calling for lighter criminal punishment of marijuana users, especially younger ones, as a sort of baby step. You’ll find him below in a clip from March doing just that.

As for the other party, I’ll leave you with this, which is undoubtedly true:


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Comment pages: 1 2

What difference, at this point, does it make?

David Blue on October 22, 2013 at 7:39 PM

The weed is reasonably affordable, available and effective.
If it is legalized, it will be taxed and tampered with by the govt and will be neither affordable nor effective.

I think.

Sorry if that doesn’t make sense, am really high atm.

Anton on October 22, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Its also probably because of the more libertarian trend that the USA has right now. Theres been a lot of evidence that people are sick and tired of the government dictating how we are allowed to live.
Marijuana is a major symbol of the government deciding what is good for us. I was a Republican for years before going more Libertarian and I always supported legalizing Marijuana because, in my mind, its just a large government being a nanny telling us what we can and cant do with our own bodies.

Like it or not we are probably 10-15 years away from marijuana being legalized nation wide.

With Colorado being a swing state, and it having legalized Marijuana for recreational uses, its going to be hard for any candidate to come in here and tell us we are not allowed to smoke. They will lose the state in an instant. A Republican can lose Washington no problem, much harder to lose Colorado and win the electoral college.

Blu3Yeti on October 22, 2013 at 8:07 PM

But he who is noble devises noble things,
and by noble things he stands.

Isaiah 32:8

Oops. Sorry, wrong country.

Cleombrotus on October 22, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Since you vigorously inhale smoke to flip out, to be fair, why don’t all these anti-smoking commercials include smoking marijuana too??

jamesgreenidge on October 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

As I age, the quantity of gin it takes to put a tough day behind me

urban elitist on October 22, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Heh. I am not surprised you need drugs.

CWchangedhisNicagain on October 22, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Exactly. Cons love big government when big government enforces their worldview.

tdarrington on October 22, 2013 at 5:02 PM

BINGO!!

svs22422 on October 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Since you vigorously inhale smoke to flip out, to be fair, why don’t all these anti-smoking commercials include smoking marijuana too??

jamesgreenidge on October 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

marijuana makes people flip out? you must have believed ” refer maddness”. i’ll be checking tomorrow’s news, try and see how many white girls are jumping out of skyscarpers.

”Marihuana is, ” a more dangerous drug than heroin or cocaine.” Authority for this statement is United States Commissioner of Narcotics H.J.Anslinger….the drug is adhering to its Old World traditions of murder,assault,rape, physical demoralization, and mental breakdown.” Scientific American – May 1938

” Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at white woman twice.” Hearst newspapers nationwide, 1935

svs22422 on October 22, 2013 at 10:48 PM

Now you know why so many great paying industrial jobs requiring drug testing for safety’s sake.

umm, drug testing is not on the job ” impairment testing,” and has absolutely nothing to do with safety. If drug testing was performed like booze testing, which detects drunkenness on the spot, then I might believe its for safety issues. Since a drug test does not tell if your impaired on the job, just that you did something in the recent past, don’t try and tell me its for safety.

svs22422 on October 22, 2013 at 11:28 PM

Since you vigorously inhale smoke to flip out, to be fair, why don’t all these anti-smoking commercials include smoking marijuana too??

jamesgreenidge on October 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

flip out?

this is flipped out.
”Marihuana is a more dangerous drug than heroin or cocaine”.
United States Commissioner of Narcotics H.J.Anslinger
May – 1938

”Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye,step on white men’s shadows and look at white woman twice.”
Hearst newspapers nationwide,1935

seems Hitler wasn’t the only paranoid freak running loose in the 1930′s.

svs22422 on October 22, 2013 at 11:37 PM

I work in industry. The use of illegal drugs on the job endangers me as much as if one were to be drunk on the job. That having been said, as long as the guy didn’t blow a doob that morning, I see no reason why he should lose his job over having attended a concert three days earlier.

I mean, imagine having to see Justin Bieber without some kind of mind-altering substance! Just the thought of it causes me to nearly go into convulsions.

Wino on October 23, 2013 at 5:23 AM

the DEA must look at polls like this and cringe. National legalization of pot would make it very hard for agencies like the DEA to justify about 90% of their budgets. The war on drugs like prohibition before it has proven to be a disaster. Not only has it increased crime but it’s turned our police departments into paramilitary organizations. Time to end it.

bannor on October 23, 2013 at 8:01 AM

Personally, I think alcohol should be illegal. If I have to worry about breaking the law just to smoke a joint at home then drinkers should have the same worries.

zoyclem on October 23, 2013 at 8:07 AM

Since a drug test does not tell if your impaired on the job, just that you did something in the recent past, don’t try and tell me its for safety.

svs22422 on October 22, 2013 at 11:28 PM

Amen.
In any risky environment, I would think that a co-worker would rat out someone whom they thought was high/drunk thus endangering them and the safety of all others.
Just legalize the stuff like Conservatives used to believe.
I haven’t read through all of the comments, but I suspect that some have opined that marijuana is a “gateway drug”. Nothing could be further from the truth, and, in fact, former “Drug Czar” (Gen.) McCaffrey finally admitted that fact shortly before he left office several years ago.
As for good pot being inexpensive – nope. At $3-$4 per gram it aint “cheap”. That Mess’kan garbage is so low on THC, it’s not even worth $100 per ounce anymore.
There are ways to acquire good smoke without paying a fortune. *grin*
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on October 23, 2013 at 8:08 AM

There are ways to acquire good smoke without paying a fortune. *grin*
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on October 23, 2013 at 8:08 AM

If they decided to tax and regulate it I wonder how they will handle home growers?

Dr. Frank Enstine on October 23, 2013 at 10:03 AM

If they decided to tax and regulate it I wonder how they will handle home growers?

Dr. Frank Enstine on October 23, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Presumably, and with the encouragement of activists and lobbyists who know about such things, the same way they handle home brewing and wine making…

JohnGalt23 on October 23, 2013 at 10:16 AM

I have RA and I use marijuana daily. Medical marijuanan is not the same thing as the pot you used to buy in high school to get stoned with. It has without a doubt been a god send to me for it to be leagal in AZ. After 100 yaers of demonizing by the federal government, for the good of thier lobbyist friends, it will take time to get that across to people but we are making headway.

paulrtaylor on October 23, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Azz-hole senile wacko bird!

RdLake on October 24, 2013 at 12:04 AM

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