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29% of Americans Say They Never Drink Alcohol

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Don’t look for the return of Prohibition any time soon. While a sizable number of Americans say they don’t drink, very few think alcohol should be outlawed despite a new study that says it is more dangerous to society than heroin and cocaine.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 36% of Adults say they drink alcohol at least once a week, with seven percent (7%) who have a drink every day or nearly every day. Only 29% say they never drink alcohol.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But just six percent (6%) of all Americans say alcohol should be outlawed completely. Among those who never drink, however, support for prohibition rises to 16%.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Adults are comfortable with the current legal drinking age of 21 as it is in most states, slightly higher than the finding in August 2008.  Twenty-five percent (25%) think legal drinking at 18 is okay. Four percent (4%) say 16-year-olds should be able to drink, while eight percent (8%) favor pushing the legal age up to 25.

Americans have mixed feelings about the health risks related to drinking alcohol. Forty-nine percent (49%) are at least somewhat concerned about those risks, including 21% who are Very Concerned. Forty-seven percent (47%), on the other hand, don’t share that concern, with 14% who are Not At All Concerned.

Perhaps not surprisingly, non-drinkers are more concerned about the potential health risks of alcohol than are those who drink regularly.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on November 2-3, 2010 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.

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