More polling on cannabis

Latest CBS numbers show substantially less support for legalization than the same poll found two months ago.

CBS, which produced the surprising (to me) finding in January that 41% of its sample supported legalizing cannabis v. 52% opposed, has now repolled what seems to be the same question and gotten different numbers: 31% yes, 63% no. When the question is followed up among the “noes,” to specify that state governments would tax the drug and use the money for “state and local products,” the revised version gets 38% support v. 58% opposition.

The CBS News story on the latest poll doesn’t mention the earlier one. I have no guess as to what might have changed in between. The new numbers are more in line with my intuition about public opinion, with previous polling (other than a Rasmussen poll that came out about the same time showing 40% support and and with the behavior of politicians on the subject) than the previous ones.

It’s still possible that the political ground is shifting on the question due to generational turnover, but it’s hard to see that trend in the latest numbers.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: