If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What America Thinks: Light Up!

While states continue to crack down on tobacco, several are going in the opposite direction when it comes to marijuana, legalizing its sale and possession. What’s the difference? We decided to find out what America thinks.

Just a fifth of Americans think the United States should completely outlaw smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products, something that’s never had more than 25% support in over six years of polling. On the other hand, voters are more divided than ever on legalized pot in their state, with 43% in favor and 45% opposed, even though just a quarter of Americans think it should be a crime for people to smoke marijuana in their own home or a friend’s home.

Voters are much more likely to favor legal marijuana in their state if it’s restricted for medicinal purposes only, though they also say they’d be more likely to support legalization for recreational use if pot was regulated the same way cigarettes and alcohol currently are.

The trepidation over legalizing marijuana is interesting when you consider the fact that most Americans consider both alcohol and cigarettes to be more dangerous than marijuana, though one-in-four think they’re equally dangerous.

In that case, why the hesitation? Well, that’s a good question. It’s possible Americans are far more staunchly opposed to taking away something that is already legally available than they are favorable to legalizing something that’s not.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.