U.S.: Presidential Swing States Support Legalizing Marijuana
By Steve Elliott
Voters in three critical swing states -- Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- support legalization of medical marijuana by margins of 5-1 or more and also support legalization of recreational marijuana use by smaller margins, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released on Monday.
Support for medical marijuana is 84 - 14 percent in Florida, 84 - 15 percent in Ohio and 88 - 10 percent in Pennsylvania, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960, no candidate has won the Presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.
Support for allowing adults "to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use" is 55 - 42 percent in Florida, 52 - 44 percent in Ohio and 51 - 45 percent in Pennsylvania.
But swing state voters say they don't plan to use marijuana themselves:
• 17 percent of Florida voters say they "definitely" or "probably" would use it, while 81 percent say they "probably" or "definitely" would not;
• 14 percent of Ohio voters say they "definitely" or "probably would use it, while 84 percent say "definitely" or "probably" not;
• 15 percent of Pennsylvania voters say they are likely to try, while 83 percent say no.
"Bare majorities in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania say they support allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, and more than eight in 10 say it should be available for medical uses," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.
"But it is worth considering the lesson of Florida in 2014, when a referendum on medical marijuana fell short of the 60 percent needed for passage," Brown said.
“These results show that marijuana legalization is a mainstream issue that ambitious politicians should try to latch onto instead of run away from," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority.
"If the next president isn’t willing to personally support ending prohibition as the best policy approach, he or she at least needs to push for changing federal laws so that seriously ill people can use medical marijuana without fear of being harassed by the DEA," Angell said. "Medical marijuana polls way better with voters than any presidential candidate does.”
Graphic: Cindy's Been Trippin'