Thursday, May 05, 2011
A plurality of Americans still think 21 is the proper drinking age, but support is up slightly for dropping it to 18. Perhaps not surprisingly, younger adults are more enthusiastic about lowering the drinking age than their elders.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Americans think 21 should remain the legal drinking age in the United States. This is down from the low 50s in surveys back to August 2008. Thirty-five percent (35%) say Americans should legally be allowed to consume alcohol at age 18. Eight percent (8%) favor raising the permissible age to 25, while five percent (5%) think 16 is more appropriate. Four percent (4%) think drinking should be outlawed completely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act in effect prohibits the purchase or possession of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21, but states have varying laws when it comes to the actual consumption of alcohol by minors, especially in private settings.
Fifty percent (50%) of adults think current drunk driving laws are not tough enough, while 38% say they are about right. Just six percent (6%) say the laws are too tough. That’s virtually unchanged from earlier surveys.
But Americans are evenly divided when it comes to the sentencing of first-time drunk driving offenders: 43% believe in mandatory sentences, but 44% say a judge should have latitude in the sentence he or she hands down.
The survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on April 28-29, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.Rasmussen subscribers can log in to read the rest of this article.
ORBecome a member and get full access to all articles and polls starting at $4.95/month.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.