It is well known that there is growing bipartisan support for the legalization of marijuana in the United States. But a recent survey released by the Pew Research Center reveals significant differences within the party in how people from different political perspectives perceive the issue of legalizing recreational cannabis. At the same time, there is a broad consensus across ideological lines that patients should be able to legally access medical marijuana.
At the highest level, the poll identifies a common trend: Democrats are more likely to support full legalization of marijuana than Republicans. But it is not that simple. Pew placed respondents into one of nine political cohorts across the spectrum and found that opinions about marijuana policy can vary widely, even among people who share core socio-political beliefs.
“Partisan polarization remains the dominant and seemingly unalterable condition of American politics. Republicans and Democrats agree on very little – and when they do, it’s often in a shared belief that they have little in common, ”Pew said in his report, which was released last week. “Yet the gulf between Republicans and Democrats sometimes obscures the divisions and diversity of views that exist within the two partisan coalitions – and the fact that many Americans do not easily fit into one or the other. ‘other. “
Take cannabis, for example.
While recent polls have revealed that a growing percentage of Republicans are embracing the legalization of marijuana, Pew’s data provides a window into where the increase in support is coming from. Mainly, it is the so-called ambivalent right, the youngest conservative group, that supports legalizing medical and recreational legalization 60%.
Those classified in the ambivalent right-wing cohort “hold conservative views on the size of government, the economic system, and issues of race and gender. But they’re the only political right-wing group in which majorities support legal abortion and say marijuana should be legal for recreational and medical purposes, ”Pew said.
It is the only right-wing typology expressing majority support for legalizing adult use and medical cannabis. But two of the others – the populist right and committed conservatives – are just below the 50% mark. The exception is “the conservatives of Faith and Flag,” of which only 33% said they were in favor of full legalization.
The people in this cohort “are intensely conservative in all areas; they are much more likely than any other typology group to say that government policies should support religious values and that compromise in politics only “sells what you believe in”.
But despite the strong conservative beliefs of this group, 47% of respondents who fit the bill still said cannabis should be legal for therapeutic purposes. In contrast, only 19% said marijuana should be banned altogether.
Committed conservatives and the populist right, however, are quite divided on the legalization of recreational cannabis.
People associated with the old typology “express conservative views in all areas, but with a little softer side”. As for marijuana, 44% said it should be legal for any use, while 43% said it should only be legalized for medical purposes.
The populist right is made up of conservatives with little education and likely to live in rural areas. The poll found that 45% of people in this group support adult use and medical legalization, while 44% said only medical cannabis should be legal.
Only 11% of respondents in each of these two categories said marijuana should be banned outright.
Meanwhile, Stressed Sideliners, a centrist cohort defined by low political engagement and a “mix of conservative and liberal views,” also supports ending the 62% blanket ban.
On the left side of the spectrum, there was majority support for the legalization of marijuana among all typographies of Democrat-leaning respondents. But even so, there was a 26 percentage point difference between the progressive left, which supports full legalization at 91%, and the Democratic pillars who support reform at 65%.
The Mainstays are “the largest Democratic-oriented group, as well as the oldest on average,” Pew said. The progressive left, meanwhile, “has very liberal views on virtually all issues and supports far-reaching changes to tackle racial injustice and widen the social safety net.”
Seventy percent of establishment liberals, defined as people with progressive views but who feel less inclined to support radical change, support adult use and legalization of medical marijuana. And 73% of the Outsider Left feel the same. This group is “very liberal in most of its views, but it is deeply frustrated with the political system, including the Democratic Party and its leaders.”
Overall, the poll, based on interviews with 5,109 Americans from April 5-11 and part of the larger survey released this month, found that 60% of those polled support legalization. broad, 31% support the legalization of medical cannabis and only 8% say so. should be totally banned.
It is the latest in a series of polls showing that most Americans are ready to end prohibition.
A Rasmussen Reports survey released last week found that 62% of Americans want marijuana to be legalized nationwide.
It came days after a Gallup survey found that 68% of American adults said they supported legalizing cannabis.
That’s the same percentage the firm reported for its last poll in November 2020, when support reached its highest level since 1969.
The release of these poll results comes as congressional lawmakers continue to reform. A key House committee approved a legalization bill in September, and Senate leaders are also pushing for a plan to end the federal cannabis ban. Additionally, a new Republican-led effort to legalize and tax cannabis at the federal level was introduced in the House on Monday.
Yet despite strong public support for the reform, especially among Democrats, President Joe Biden continues to oppose the legalization of adult use. Instead, he supports more modest proposals to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, legalize the plant for medicinal use, and let states set their own policies.
While the president is personally opposed to a complete end to the ban, the Congressional Research Service released a report this month explaining steps he and his administration could take to right the wrongs of criminalizing cannabis.
Recent state and local polls have also continued to show public support for broad marijuana reform.
For example, as several Pennsylvania lawmakers introduce bills to legalize cannabis, support for reform is at an all-time high in the state, according to a recent poll.
The legalization of marijuana is more popular in Maryland than Biden and the state’s two U.S. senators, according to a poll released late last month.
Nationally, Gallup released a survey in August showing that nearly half of American adults have tried cannabis.
Last year, the company also released a survey that found that about 70% of Americans consider smoking cannabis to be a morally acceptable activity. That’s higher than their opinions on the morality of issues such as same-sex relationships, medical animal testing, the death penalty, and abortion.
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