With recreational use of marijuana now legal in nine states plus Washington D.C., the latest Fox News Poll finds a record number of voters nationally favor legalization.
The poll shows 59 percent of voters support legalizing marijuana. That’s up from 51 percent in 2015, and 46 percent in 2013 (the first time this question was asked on a Fox News Poll). In addition, only 26 percent favored making “smoking marijuana” legal in 2001.
Thirty-two percent now oppose legalizing pot, down from a high of 49 percent in 2013.
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“This is a massive shift in opinion over a very short period. As more states legalize marijuana without the negative consequences opponents have warned about, support will likely continue to increase,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Daron Shaw, his Republican counterpart.
Millennials (72 percent) are more likely than Gen Xers (60 percent) and baby boomers (52 percent) to support legalization.
Two-thirds of Democrats (68 percent) and independents (67 percent) favor legalization. Republicans split 46-46 percent. In 2015, 59 percent of Republicans were against it.
Majorities of very conservative voters (61 percent) and white evangelical Christians (53 percent) oppose legalization. However, opposition among those groups is down 14 and 16 points, respectively, from five years ago.
“When you look at the growing percentage of people who say they support legalizing marijuana, especially among those under 30 years of age, it’s obvious why the Democrats are anxious to get pot initiatives on the ballot in statewide elections,” says Shaw.
Despite the largely positive sentiments, the drug may face a legal battle with the Trump administration; Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era marijuana policies by issuing a memo January 4 allowing U.S. attorneys to decide how aggressively to enforce federal laws in states where it has been legalized.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from January 21-23, 2018. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.