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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 10/19/2011

New high supports legalizing marijuana, Cain and Romney close in S.C., and other top polls

Today’s top polls. . .

New high in support for legalizing marijuana – Fully 50 percent of Americans say the use of marijuana should be legal according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday, the highest in polls since 1969, when just 12 percent favored legalization. Almost as many, 46 percent say marijuana should remain against the law, but that number has softened over the past decade, down from more than seven in 10 in the mid-1990s. Liberals and those under age 30 are the strongest supporters of legalizing marijuana, while support is lowest among conservatives and those over age 65.

Cain, Romney close in South Carolina and Florida – Presidential candidates Herman Cain and Mitt Romney are in a close fight for support in Republican primaries in South Carolina and Florida, according to two new NBC/Marist polls. Cain stands at 31 percent to Romney’s 28 in South Carolina among likely GOP voters (the difference is not statistically significant). In Florida, Cain and Romney stand at 32 and 33 percent, respectively (including those who lean toward a candidate). Texas Gov. Rick Perry places a distant third in both states with about 10 percent support; other candidates are in single digits.

Blame government or Wall Street for economy? The Occupy Wall Street movement has heightened scrutiny of the role banks and financial institutions played in the financial crisis, but a new Gallup poll finds that when forced to pick a bogeyman for the nation’s economic problems, the public blames government over Wall Street by more than 2 to 1 (64 percent to 30 percent). Even among supporters of the new movement, the blame splits 54 percent for Wall Street and 44 percent for government. Tea party supporters are less divided; 82 percent say the federal government deserves the most blame.

Wall Street still earns plenty of blame from the public. In separate questions, 78 percent of adults say “financial institutions on Wall Street” deserve at least “a fair amount” of blame for the nation’s economic woes. Somewhat more, 87 percent, say the federal government deserved substantial blame.

Republicans see Romney as most electable – More than four in 10 Republicans and GOP leaning independents say Mitt Romney has the best chance of defeating President Obama in 2012, according to a CNN poll released Tuesday. Fewer, 24 percent, choose the fast rising Herman Cain, 12 percent choose Perry and all other candidates are in single digits. Cain, however, is seen as the most likable candidate and the person who is most likely to get the economy moving.

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By  |  12:20 PM ET, 10/19/2011

Categories:  Economy, GOP nomination

 
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