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Poll: 41 Percent Support Pot Legalization

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

A CBS News Poll released today finds that 41 percent of Americans think the use of marijuana should be made legal. Fifty-two percent disagree.

The percentage supporting legalization has varied a bit recently. In March of this year 31 percent favored legalization but the number was higher in January at 41 percent, matching what it is now.

Thirty years ago just 27 percent thought the use of marijuana should be made legal.

Demographically, slim majorities of Americans under age 35 and liberals favor legalizing marijuana. By contrast, older people and conservatives are some of the least likely groups to back legalization. Men are a bit more likely than women to say using marijuana should be made legal.

Geographical region also impacts opinions. Opposition to legalizing marijuana is greatest in the South, while over four in 10 of those living in other areas of the country support legalization.

Forty-six percent of those residing in the west favor legalizing marijuana (the highest of any region), but forty-eight are opposed to the idea.

 Results By Demographic
Yes No Don't Know
Total 41% 52% 7%
Men 44% 51% 5%
Women 39% 53% 8%
Under Age 35 52% 38% 10%
Age 35 and Over 36% 59% 5%
Northeast 44% 48% 8%
Midwest 43% 49% 8%
South 35% 59% 6%
West 46% 48% 6%
Liberal 55% 35% 10%
Moderate 41% 52% 7%
Conservative 33% 64% 3%

Read the complete poll (PDF)> Special Report: Marijuana Nation: The New War Over Weed

America's Love-Hate History with Pot

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 944 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone July 9-12, 2009. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD 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 is higher.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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