A Majority of Americans Now Support Legalizing Pot

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 22 2013 2:49 PM

Support For Legalizing Pot Jumps 10 Points For First Clear Majority in Gallup History

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For the first time since Gallup began asking the question more than four decades ago, a clear majority of Americans now say they support the legalization of pot.

There was a small blip back in 2011 when there was 50-46 pro-pot split, although that plurality was within the poll's margin of error. The poll's first-time majority is noteworthy enough, but the topline takeaway may actually be the fact that support for legalization climbed a full 10 points from last year to 58 percent, the largest year-to-year jump in the poll's history.

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Support for legalization among self-identified Democrats (65 percent) and Republicans (35 percent) remained largely the same as it was when the pollsters asked the question last year. The big change, however, is with self-identified independents, who saw their support climb 12 points to 62 percent.

Two possible reasons for the overall uptick, according to Gallup: an increasing number of Americans who now admit that they've tried the drug; and pot advocates' success at the ballot box in the past year in Colorado and Washington state.

This post has been updated.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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