Advocates of legalizing marijuana should be pleased: Legalization enjoys strong support in Delaware, a 2016 target for the movement.
Legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use enjoys 56 percent support in Delaware, while just 39 percent oppose legalization, according to a new poll from the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication. And the breakdown was the same when the sample was limited merely to registered voters, says CPC Associate Director Paul Brewer, a professor in the Departments of Communication and Political Science & International Relations.
“The results show strong support in Delaware for legalizing marijuana,” Brewer said by e-mail. “In all age groups except for those 60 years or older, a substantial majority favored legalization. The results in Delaware mirror an emerging national majority in favor of legalization.”
Indeed, support for legalization reached 58 percent in a 2013 Gallup poll, the first time a clear majority backed the idea since polling began in 1969. Still, support appears to be in flux: a recent poll conducted by the well-regarded Public Religion Research Institute found that support dropped from 51 percent last year to 44 percent today. Recent polls have found support above 50 percent in Connecticut, Florida, New York and Ohio.
But Delaware is among a handful of states where the Marijuana Policy Project hopes legalization can pass legislatively over the next few years, though Brewer’s take is that there’s more of an appetite for decriminalization.
“My secondhand impression is that there’s a division between state legislators who favor decriminalization vs. those who favor full legalization,” he said in an e-mail. “The governor and likely next AG sound open to the former but not the latter at this point, so decriminalization seems more likely in the near future than legalization.”
The survey is based on telephone interviews of 902 adult Delaware residents, 769 of whom were registered voters. The calls were roughly split between landlines and cellphones. The data were collected between Sept. 10 and 22. The results were adjusted statistically to accurately represent state demographics. The margin of error was 3.9 percentage points.