If you think Fox News viewers are in lockstep with the Trump administration’s policies, these poll results may surprise you. The latest survey from the conservative cable network reveals a record number of voters nationally favor legalization.
According to the survey, which was released earlier this week, 59 percent support legalizing cannabis. That’s up from 51 percent in 2015, and 46 percent in 2013 (the first time this question was asked on a Fox News Poll). Only 26 percent favored making “smoking marijuana” legal in 2001.
Related Story: The Majority Of Republicans Now Favor Marijuana Legalization
Less than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose legalizing pot. Just five years ago, 49 percent were opposed. Pollsters Chris Anderson, a Democrat, and Daron Shaw, a Republican, managed the survey.
According to Anderson:
This is a massive shift in opinion over a very short period. As more states legalize marijuana without the negative consequences opponents have warned about, support will likely continue to increase.
The Fox News poll is in line with other recent surveys. The latest Gallup Poll, released last October, found that 64 percent of Americans support full legalization. In the October Gallup Poll, a majority of Republicans for the first time expressed support for legalizing marijuana; the 51 percent recorded was up nine percentage points from the previous year.
Despite the growing acceptance and approval of marijuana law reform, the Trump administration continues to move in the opposite direction. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month rescinded Obama-era marijuana policies by issuing a memo allowing U.S. attorneys to decide how aggressively to enforce federal laws in states where it has been legalized. The poll was conducted Jan. 21 through Jan. 23, weeks after Sessions’ move.
In the Fox poll, Republicans were split 46-46 percent. Two-thirds of Democrats (68 percent) and independents (67 percent) were in favor of legalization. When the issue was surveyed in 2015, 59 percent of Republicans were against it.
Millennials (72 percent) and Gen Xers (60 percent) and baby boomers (52 percent) all support cannabis legalization.
The only cohorts who remain opposed to legalization, according to the Fox News survey, were those who self-identify as “very conservative voters” (61 percent) and “white evangelical Christians” (53 percent). But, as Fox News noted, opposition among those groups is down 14 and 16 points, respectively, from five years ago.
According to Republican pollster Shaw:
When you look at the growing percentage of people who say they support legalizing marijuana, especially among those under 30 years of age, it’s obvious why the Democrats are anxious to get pot initiatives on the ballot in statewide elections.
And as more Republicans hop aboard the cannabis train, it may leave the party voters at odds with its leadership.