The General Social Survey – a nationwide biannual poll considered the gold standard for public opinion research – found that public support for legalizing cannabis reached 57 percent in 2016, up from 52 percent support in 2014, according to a Washington Post report outlining the data.
Legalization was most popular among respondents aged 18-34 (66 percent), while the majority of respondents aged 45-49 (59 percent) and 50-64 (56 percent) also backed legalizing cannabis. Just 42 percent of respondents aged 65-and-older supported sweeping reforms. However, among all age groups, support has spiked since 2008 when just 20 percent of 18-34 year olds and 21 percent of seniors supported full legalization.
The survey found 64 percent of Democrats supported legalization, along with 61 percent of Independents and those registered to another party. Just 40 percent of Republicans were for legalizing cannabis, up just 1 percent from 2016 – however that’s progress from the 2000 survey, in which just 26 percent of Republicans, and only 29 percent of Democrats – supported legalization.
A 2015 Gallup poll showed similar results. That survey found 58 percent of Americans believed cannabis should be legalized – representing the highest support numbers for legalization in Gallup’s history.