Gallup’s national poll, a long-running occurrence for almost 50 years, has released results showing an ongoing trend in approval for marijuana legislation. The three-year pattern involves a continual upturn in approval for legalizing marijuana. This trend is a change from polls as recently as four years ago, when US residents were still opposed to the idea.
The 2018 poll shows that 66% of Americans are in favour of legalizing marijuana, compared to 32% opposed. The previous two years, the rate in favour was 64% for 2017 and 34% in 2016. This is compared to the first poll in 1969, when Gallup found only 12% of Americans were in favour of legalizing marijuana.
The biggest spike seemed to be in Americans age 55 and older, where a surprising 9% increase was noted. This year’s percentage is 59% for the age group, up from 50% for 2017.
Republicans are also changing their perspective, as this year 53% support legalization, while in 2017, the number was only 51%.
The Gallup poll isn’t the only one finding this data. A survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center in September, showed that Americans are behind the trend towards legalizing marijuana, with 62% of Americans in favour of the idea. This is only a 1% increase from last year’s findings.
Meanwhile, the same survey in 2000 showed only 31% support of marijuana legalization by Americans.
One interesting discrepancy in the two polls, however, is the percentage of Republicans supporting legalization. For Gallup, Republicans are supporting the measure in greater numbers. However, for the Pew Research Center poll, Democrats are supporting legalization while more conservative Republicans still largely oppose the idea. The public opinion is that the discrepancy occurs because the two polls are handled in different manners, with varied methodology involved in the process of obtaining data.
With four states primed to vote on marijuana legislation in the coming election, the show of support for such a change is uplifting. Those in support of the legalization move hope to see less waste of law enforcement time and resources. They particularly hope to see a better future for minorities, who are hit the hardest by charges related to marijuana use and possession.