The reality of polls on legalizing marijuana is smokier than you think
First, Pew Research is on its own with seeing a rapid rise in weed legalization over the past three years. Other pollsters show the percentage of Americans who want to legalize weed staying steady. Angus Reid has polled the question five times since 2009 and has come away with 53%, 52%, 55%, 52%, and 54% in November 2012 in favor of legalization. There’s no trend there.
CBS News has surveyed seven times since 2009 and has been up and down with 41%, 31%, 41%, 44%, 40%, 45%, and 47% in November 2012 in favor. Perhaps there’s a slight tick upward, though it’s unclear and certainly not near what Pew found. Gallup has gone at the question four times since 2009 with 44%, 46%, 50%, and then 48% in November 2012 in favor. The percentage who said it should not be made legal was 50% in 2010 and again in 2012.
The ABC/Washington Post poll clocked marijuana legalization at 46% in 2009, 46% in 2010, and 48% in November. …
All the data together suggests that there may be a little bit of a rise in the percentage of those favoring marijuana legalization over the past few years, but not 11 pts. Whether or not a majority support weed legalization is a question I’m unprepared to answer.