YouGov/Economist Poll Finds Most Americans Support Marijuana Legalization

By Jacob Sullum

A new YouGov poll commissioned by The Economist finds most Americans support marijuana legalization. Here is the question:

Some people say marijuana should be treated like alcohol and tobacco. They say it should be regulated and taxed and made illegal for minors. Do you agree?

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they agreed, while only 23 percent disagreed. The remaining 19 percent had no opinion. This is the strongest support for legalization that I can recall seeing in a nationally representative poll. A Gallup poll in late October found that 46 percent of Americans favored legalization, a record for that organization’s surveys. (By comparison, support was under 30 percent in Gallup polls taken during the late 1970s, a time that today is remembered as relatively pot-tolerant.) As far as I know, the only other survey to find majority support for legalizing pot was a May 2009 Zogby poll in which 52 percent of respondents favored that position. The question in that survey was pretty slanted in favor of legalization, however.