The AP-CNBC poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010 and reflects the views of 1,001 people surveyed by telephone. The poll has a margin-of-error factor of plus/minus 4.3 percent.
1. Do you favor, oppose or neither favor nor oppose the complete legalization of the use of marijuana for any purpose?
A majority—55 percent—of Americans oppose the complete legalization of marijuana. 33 percent are in favor.
- Democrats and independents are about evenly divided, while Republicans strongly oppose it, 69 percent to 22 percent.
- Women (63 percent) oppose legalization more than men (48 percent) do.
- No noteworthy regional differences.
- People under age 30 favor legalization, 54 percent to 39 percent, while older groups lean against it, including those aged 50-64 (54 opposed, 33 favor) and those 65+ (73 opposed, 14 for).
- Whites oppose blanket legalization by about a two-to-one margin, 59 percent to 30 percent.
- Our sample size for minorities is small but combining blacks and Hispanics, they're about evenly divided, 47 percent opposed and 41 percent in favor.
- Urban areas are divided roughly evenly, while opponents prevail in suburban and rural areas by about two-to-one.
2. Do you favor, oppose or neither favor nor oppose legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use?
55 percent oppose legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. 34 percent are in favor.
- Patterns of support by subgroup are very similar to Question 1.
3. Do you favor, oppose or neither favor nor oppose legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for medical purposes?
A majority—60 percent—of Americans favor legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for medical purposes.
- Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents favor this, including Republicans by 53 percent to 36 percent, reversing their opposition to blanket legalization.
- Two thirds of Democrats and six in 10 independents also favor. Men and women both favor by about two-to-one margins.
- No noteworthy regional differences.
- People under age 30 favor it by 71 percent to 23 percent. Strong majorities of people aged 30-64 also favor.
- Among those 65+, supporters outnumber foes by a modest 50 percent to 40 percent margin.
- Whites reverse their opposition to blanket legalization, favoring legal medical use by 60 percent to 30 percent. There is also majority support among minorities. Support is strong across all types of areas (urban, suburban, rural).
4. What if state governments were to tax the sale of marijuana and use it to pay for state programs and services? In that case, would you favor oppose or neither favor nor oppose legalizing the use of marijuana?
Just 14 percent of those who oppose general legalization would change their minds and favor it if state governments were to tax the sale of marijuana.
- People from the West and Midwest, political independents, and those under age 30 likeliest to change minds and support it.
5. Should the regulations on marijuana be…
Americans are divided on whether regulations for marijuana should be stricter than those for alcohol.
- Those likeliest to say regulations should be stricter include people 65+ (58 percent) and Republicans (53 percent).
6. Assuming the sale and possession of at least some amount of marijuana were made legal, would you favor, oppose, or neither favor nor oppose allowing state governments to tax sales of marijuana?
If marijuana is legalized, 62 percent favor imposing state taxes on sales.
- Likeliest to say yes include Westerners (73 percent) and college-educated (72 percent). Only 43 percent of those 65+ say so. There's little difference by political party, race or type of area.
39 percent think legalizing marijuana and taxing it would contribute just a small amount to their state’s budget, while 35 percent think it would contribute a large amount. 23 percent think it wouldn’t really contribute anything to their state’s budget.
7. Assuming the sale and possession of at least some amount of marijuana were made legal, would you prefer
Assuming marijuana were legalized, more favor private businesses selling marijuana than having government sell it, 54 percent to 36 percent.
- By age, only those 65+ are closely divided, all younger groups have clear preference for business.
- Whites and blacks want business to do it, Hispanics prefer government.
- Little regional difference.
- Six in 10 Republicans prefer business, compared to nearly half of Democrats.
8. If marijuana were taxed by state governments, what do you think would be an appropriate tax rate? Would (INSERT RATE) be too high, too low, or about right?
As for what tax rate would be appropriate, most don’t favor a high rate of tax. 36 percent say 5 percent would be too low, and 46 percent say that 25 percent would be too high. The cross-over point between where more people say the tax should be lower than higher is somewhere between 10 and 25 percent.
9. If marijuana were taxed by state governments, do you think those taxes would…
10. If the sale and possession of marijuana were made legal, do you think…
a. It would increase crime, reduce crime, or have no effect on crime?
b. It would make the economy better, make the economy worse, or have no effect on the economy?
c. It would mostly improve the health of people, mostly harm the health of the people, or have no effect on the health of people?
d. It would lead more people to use more serious drugs such as heroin and cocaine, lead fewer people to use more serious drugs, or have no effect on how many people use more serious drugs?
e. It would create jobs in your community, cost jobs in your community, or have no effect on the number of jobs in your community?
Few people think that the legalization of marijuana would have negative effects on crime or the economy. Almost half think that legalization would have negative health effects, only four in 10 say it would lead people to use more serious drugs. Only a quarter of Americans think legalizing marijuana would create jobs in their community.
Impact on crime:
- Women (41 percent) are likelier than men (25 percent) to say legalization will worsen crime.
- Those under age 30 (52 percent) are likeliest to think it will reduce crime, while those 65+ (51 percent) are likeliest to think it will increase crime.
- There are no stark differences by race, region or type of area.
- Democrats consider it likelier to reduce crime by 38 percent to 29 percent, while Republicans see it as likelier to increase crime by a similar 39 percent to 26 percent margin.
Impact on economy:
- People under age 30 likeliest to expect improvement (58 percent), those 65+ likeliest to foresee worsening (33 percent).
- Democrats and independents likelier that Republicans to expect improvement, Republicans likeliest to expect worsening.
Impact on health:
- Republicans expect it to do more harm than good, 55 percent to 8 percent.
- Democrats agree but by lesser margin, 37 percent to 18 percent.
- Just 31 percent of those under age 30 expect harm, a lower percentage than other age groups.
Impact on use of harder drugs:
- Those 65+ (56 percent) are most convinced it will, compared to other age groups (all are between 31 and 38 percent).
- By party, half of Republicans say it will, compared to only about a third of Democrats and independents.
Impact on job creation:
- 71 percent of those 65+ say it will have no effect on jobs, compared to 37 percent of those under age 30.
11. Do you think the cost of enforcing today’s marijuana laws is too high, or do you think the cost of enforcing today’s marijuana laws is acceptable?
Americans are divided on whether the cost of enforcing today’s marijuana laws is too high. 45 percent say it is too high, while 48 percent say the cost is acceptable.
- 50 percent of Democrats but just 34 percent of Republicans say cost is too high.
- Men (52 percent) are likelier than women (38 percent) to consider the costs too high.
- 57 percent of those 65+ and 41 percent of those under age 30 say costs are acceptable.
12. Do you think that (ROTATE: marijuana has a real medical benefit for some people), or (do you think that marijuana doesn’t really have any real medical benefits for anyone)?
Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of Americans think marijuana has a real medical benefit for some people.
- 78 percent of people under age 30 say it has a real benefit for some people, compared to 64 percent of those 65+.
- Southerners (28 percent) are likelier than those in Midwest (16 percent) and West (17 percent) to doubt its benefit.
- Republicans (27 percent) are bigger doubters than Democrats (17 percent).
13. Assuming that the sale of at least some amount of marijuana by private companies were made legal, would you be interested in investing in a company that was in the business of selling marijuana, or would you not be interested in such an investment?
Just 24 percent say they would be interested in investing in a company in the marijuana business.
- 31 percent of active investors say they'd be interested in investing in companies legally selling marijuana, compared to 18 percent of those who are not active investors. (Active investors are defined as people who both own stocks, bonds or mutual funds inside or outside a retirement plan, and made at least one change to those investments in the past year).
- 28 percent of Democrats, 18 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of independents would be interested.
- Only 5 percent of those 65+ would be interested; interest among younger groups ranges from 20 percent (age 50-64) to 43 percent (below age 30).
14. Assume that the sale of at least some amount of marijuana by private companies was made legal, and you held investments in a company that went into a marijuana-related business. Do you think that would make you want to…
But most say they wouldn’t sell if a company in which they had previously invested decided to go into the marijuana business. Just 36 percent would sell their investment, and 14 percent would increase their investment.
- 47 percent of Republicans said they would sell their investment in that company, compared to 28 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents.
- 54 percent of those 65+ would sell, compared to just 23 percent of those under 30.
The AP-CNBC Poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media. It involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,001 adults nationwide, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.