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Independent Voters Support Marijuana Legalization, Regardless Of Partisan Lean, Poll Shows

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Most independent voters lean in one partisan direction or the other, so when those cohorts are surveyed, it tends to reveal schisms in support for a variety of issues. But marijuana legalization is not one of those policy areas.

According to a new analysis of survey data from the Pew Research Center, independents from across the political spectrum support legalizing cannabis.

Support is strongest among Democratic-leaning independents, 75 percent of whom favor legalization. Those who claim to have no partisan bias support legalization at 70 percent. And while 51 percent of Republicans oppose legalization in Pew’s most recently survey, 60 percent of Republican-leaning independents support ending cannabis prohibition.

That information could come into play as presidential campaign season heats up. Candidates hoping to appeal to independent voters, who represent 38 percent of the electorate, wouldn’t be winning much favor by taking an anti-legalization stance.

Of course, at this point it doesn’t seem that many candidates will have that problem. From former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)—along with many more—the current class of Democratic presidential candidates has widely embraced legalization.

While many of them adopted pro-reform stances earlier in their careers, results from surveys like this latest one might explain why some others have quickly evolved on the issue more recently.

Support for medical marijuana and expunging the records of people with prior cannabis convictions is even higher. But support for outright legalization is the absolute highest among liberal Democrats, 81 percent of whom back the policy, according to a Gallup survey released last month.

One more voting bloc that candidates will want to keep in mind are the country’s military veterans. Eighty-eight percent of veterans surveyed by the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said they back medical marijuana legalization, while 55 percent support adult-use legalization.

Liberal Democrats Overwhelmingly Support Marijuana Legalization, Survey Data Reveals

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based senior editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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