​CBS News Poll: Should pot be decriminalized?

CBS News

A new CBS News Poll finds Americans split on whether the use of marijuana should be legal.

According to a new "Sunday Morning" poll of more than 1,000 respondents nationwide, 48 percent favor making marijuana use legal, while 47 percent oppose it.

Earlier this year, a slim majority of 51 percent supported legalization, although the difference with today's poll is within the margin of error.

    Public opinion on legalizing pot has shifted in recent years, and has changed dramatically since 1979 when CBS News first asked about it. Back then, nearly seven in 10 Americans (69 percent) opposed the legalization of marijuana use, while just 27 percent favored it.

    Today, most men think marijuana use should be legal, while a majority of women do not.

    Younger Americans are especially supportive of legal marijuana use: 60 percent of those under age 30 support legalization, but 58 percent of seniors do not.

    Regionally, majorities in the Northeast and in the West (both 53 percent) are more likely to favor legalization of marijuana, compared to Southerners (45 percent) and those living in the Midwest (44 percent).

    Ideology plays some role. Most conservatives (59 percent) do not think marijuana use should be legal, but 53 percent of moderates and 63 percent of liberals think it should be.

    This poll was conducted by telephone May 14-18, 2014 among 1,011 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, Pa. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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