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Voters support pot legalization, split on same-sex marriage

A month after voters in Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows a majority of Americans support the legalization of pot, signaling potential support for similar ballot measures nationwide.

According to the poll, conducted between November 28 - December 3 among 1,949 registered voters, 51 percent of voters support the legalization of pot for recreational purposes, while 44 percent oppose it. Men were more likely to favor legalization than women, who oppose it 52 percent to 44 percent. Voters 18 to 29 years old support legalization overwhelmingly, 69-29 percent.

"With the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes legal in about 20 states, and Washington and Colorado voting this November to legalize the drug for recreational use, American voters seem to have a more favorable opinion about this once-dreaded drug," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "There are large differences on this question among the American people."

Voters were more divided on the question of same-sex marriage, which also had success at the polls on Election Day. According to the poll, voters favor same-sex marriage by just two points -- 48 percent to 46 percent -- which is within the poll's margin of error. But the survey shows evidence of rapid change on how people feel about the issue. In 2008, a Quinnipiac poll showed that men opposed same-sex marriage 61 to 31 percent; currently, they oppose it 50 to 43 percent. Women, who opposed same-sex marriage 51 to 40 percent in 2008, now back same-sex marriage 52 to 42 percent.

"It seems pretty clear that attitudes toward same-sex marriage in American society are changing rapidly. While the country remains split on the issue, supporters have come pretty far in the last four years," said Brown. "Since voters 18 to 29 years old support same-sex marriage 63 - 35 percent, once again we see it's just a matter of time."

CBS News polls from last week yielded similar results on legalizing both pot and same-sex marriage: Those surveys showed a slim majority - 51 percent - in support of same-sex marriage, while as many voters said marijuana use should be legal as think it should not.