There’s already plenty of evidence Americans want to legalize marijuana from coast to coast. Poll after poll has concluded a majority of voters favor reform.
Now a new survey shows that support has reached even the most conservative corners of the United States. The poll, by Fox News, is the first by that news outlet to find majority backing for legalization.
Slightly more than half of registered voters told Fox they want to legalize cannabis for both recreational and medical use. Asked whether they “favor or oppose legalizing marijuana,” 51 percent said they favor the idea.
Fox News polls have a tendency to skew right, though the problem may be more severe with political races than social causes. The results of the new survey, published in late April, suggest even conservatives are coming around on the issue.
When the same poll was conducted last year, it found an even split, with 50 percent supporting legalization and the rest either against it or undecided. The slight bump is reflected in other recent polls.
Support for reform holds strong
The Pew Research Center released a poll in April that found 53 percent of voters want to legalize for recreational use. Majority support held steady from last year, when the same Pew poll found 54 percent support.
Fox has been asking voters about legalization since at least 2001. That year just 26 percent of respondents said they like the idea.
Not surprisingly, Republican voters oppose legalization by wider margins than other groups, with 59 percent of them against it. Democrats are much more supportive, with 62 percent saying they want legalization, while 53 percent of independents said the same.
As revealed by every other major poll on the issue, young voters back the idea more than any other group. Even young Republicans said they’d vote for legalization.
Majority of voters support legalization
Among voters younger than 35, as well as voters between 35 and 54, a majority favors recreational cannabis reform. But older voters mostly oppose it, and their opposition increases with age.
Other polls, including the Pew survey, have found a similar lack of enthusiasm among older voters, most in the so-called “Silent Generation” born between the 1920s and 1940s. But even in that group, support has been growing over the years.
All this bodes well for the future of legalization efforts in America. Conservative politicians are increasingly getting behind the idea, and if even Fox News acknowledges the turning tide, legal, accessible marijuana is likely on its way.
Recreational marijuana available in four states
Four states have already legalized the drug under their own laws: Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, together with the District of Columbia. Another 19 states allow medical marijuana and 13 more permit non-intoxicating CBD oil.
The Fox News and Pew polls indicate that support for legalization hasn’t grown dramatically over the last two years. But the movement doesn’t appear to have lost any steam.
More importantly, strong, growing majorities already back the idea in places like California and Maine, places where legalization campaigns are already underway for 2016. And more Americans are sure to back the idea as it spreads from state to state.