Silent Majority: 54% of Republicans Polled Now Favor Cannabis Legalization
Public polling has always been an inexact science, as evidenced by our last presidential election. Have you ever been polled by telephone? I haven’t. Nobody that I know has either. Even the most comprehensive polls typically admit to having drawn from a pool of just hundreds, or maybe thousands, of respondents.
Manipulating polling questions with the clever and calculated omission or addition of just one or two extra words can swing poll results wildly in one direction or the other, often making the poll author’s ideology far more apparent than those of the people actually queried.
From politics to public opinion, polling in the mainstream misses just as often as it truly informs or predicts. But as we see with every aspect of cannabis, this plant bucks mainstream norms every chance it gets and polling on pot has proven to be more reliable than on most topics.
Just last year, the highly respected polling aggregator Gallup released a report stating that over 66% of Americans indicated their support for the nationwide legalization of cannabis – the highest mark we have seen so far on the subject.
Gallup has been asking a similar question through public polling for a half a century, and 50 years ago at the height of the Free Love era in 1969 just 12% of people polled could muster the courage to verbally lend their support for cannabis legalization.
That support has trended consistently upward since around 2000, and it wasn’t until 2013 that the tables turned and support finally outweighed opposition.
Even given our skepticism in the general practice of polling, these numbers just feel right when held up to our own life experiences and from what we have gathered when talking to people inside and outside the industry every day for the past decade or more.
But all of the polling in the world doesn’t count for one actual vote, and most pieces of forward-thinking proposed cannabis legislation face severe opposition from conservative Republican lawmakers who are still pushing Reefer Madness style fear mongering when it comes to the plant.
From Jeff Sessions to Pete Sessions, we have slowly picked off these anti-cannabis dinosaurs but many still remain in places of power at the highest levels of our government.
Their boring, fact-free arguments against cannabis have been shredded by both empirical and eventually scientific evidence to the point where all they are left with is the even more boring “What about the kiiiiiiiids” whine, quiver-lipped warnings about how powerful today’s pot is (try a different strain, dummy), or a half-baked claim that they are just listening to their constituents (ie. Republican voters).
Ignoring those first two points because, well, they are painfully stupid, last year’s Gallup poll smashed the third by revealing that 53% of Republicans polled were in favor of the federal legalization of recreational marijuana.
This was the first time that a major national poll showed majority Republican support on the issue, and that support, along with a bunch of Conservatives apparently, is only getting higher.
This year another national poll was conducted by an outfit called General Social Survey posing a similar question as the Gallup poll regarding ending cannabis prohibition in the U.S., this time omitting the medical/recreational qualifier.
Their results validated last October’s Gallup findings by showing 54% of Republicans polled expressing their support for cannabis legalization.
By comparison, the same poll question raked in 75% support among Democrats.
The next major voting block on the verge of majority support is Americans over the age of 65 years old. In 2016, just 42% polled were in favor of full scale cannabis reform. Today that number is 46% and climbing as that demographic has become one of the fastest growing as far as cannabis consumption in states where the plant is legal.
Many Americans will be shocked to hear so much about legalizing cannabis during the upcoming 2020 presidential campaign, but most Americans are already in favor of it.