PRINCETON, NJ -- A majority of west coast voters, and 44 percent of the nation, are "in favor of making marijuanalegal," according to national poll of 1,013 likely voters published this week by Gallup.
Fifty-three percent of west coast voters said that they supported regulating marijuana, while 46 percent said they opposed the idea. Regional support for legalization was second highest on the east coast, where 44 percent of respondents backed legalizing pot.
Among self-described "liberals," 78 percent endorsed legalization, as did a majority of "Democrats" and half of "Independents." By contrast, only 28 percent of self-identified "Republicans" supported amending marijuana laws.
According to polling service, which has been posing the marijuana legalization question to likely voters since 1970, national support for the issue has never been higher. In 2005, the last time Gallup posed the question, only 36 percent of Americans said they backed legalization.
Among women voters, support for legalization has risen 12 percent since 2005.
The Gallup poll results echo those of separate national polls conducted this year by Zogby, ABC News, CBS News, Rasmussen Reports, and the California Field Poll – all of which reported greater public support for marijuana legalization than ever before.
Responding to the Gallup poll results, NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said, "Public support for replacing the illicit marijuana market with a legally regulated, controlled market similar to alcohol, complete with age restrictions and quality controls, continues to grow nationally, and has already achieved majority support on the west coast – where many voters are already familiar with the state-licensed use and, in some cases, sale of medical cannabis."
He added, "As voters and legislators continue to look for alternative ways to raise revenue for public services and reduce law enforcement costs in this troubled economy, we expect Americans' support for regulating cannabis to only grow stronger in the years to come."