Americans are almost evenly divided when it comes to marijuana legalization, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday. Some 43% said pot should be legalized, while 42% disagreed, and 15% were undecided. This is the first Rasmussen Reports poll to show a plurality in favor of legalization, and it marks a slow but steady tick upward in the last year and a half.
While fewer than half support legalizing marijuana, almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents thought it would be legalized in the US within the next decade. That figure includes 29% who said it was very likely pot would be legalized. Only 5% thought it very likely pot would not be legalized.
The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on July 21-22, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Medical marijuana had much higher levels of support, with 75% in favor of medical use and only 14% saying patients should not be able to smoke pot with a doctor's recommendation. That is up from 63% in the last Rasmussen Report poll on the topic back in October.
Forty percent of respondents told Rasmussen they had smoked pot at some time in their lives, but 55% said they had not. A solid majority (61%) of those who had smoked pot supported legalization.
So did Democrats (51%), while 62% of Republicans were opposed. Independents leaned toward legalization by a margin of 48% to 35%.