The 2016 Election is already underway, with numerous Presidential candidates from the Republican and Democrat parties announcing that they are running for President of the United States. As is the case in any Presidential Election, swing states will be key to ensuring victory, both during the Primaries, and during the General Election. From what I can tell there is only one issue among voters in almost every swing state where majority support has been found by polling - marijuana reform.
It wasn’t that long ago that supporting marijuana reform was considered to be a political liability. Those days are long gone, and not only is it not risky for candidates to support marijuana reform, it puts candidates in line with the majority of voters in key swing states like Iowa, Virginia, and Colorado. Per a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University:
With big age and partisan gaps, Iowa voters are divided 47 – 47 percent on whether the state should legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today. Voters in Virginia support so-called recreational pot 54 – 41 percent, as Colorado voters still back their first-in-the-nation experiment 62 – 34 percent.
By margins of about 10-1, voters in each state support the use of medical marijuana, the Swing State Poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on key states in the presidential election.
Governors in all three states enjoy strong job approval ratings:
52 – 38 percent for Gov. John Hickenlooper in Colorado;
53 – 36 percent for Gov. Terry Branstad in Iowa;
50 – 28 percent for Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Virginia.
“Voters in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia often disagree about the big issues of the day – taxes, government spending, gay marriage and abortion. Yet there is one thing that they pretty much agree upon across state lines – medicinal pot,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. “Huge majorities in all three states think marijuana should be legally available for medical use. In once-stately Virginia there is majority support for allowing adults to possess small amounts of the drug for personal use. Iowans are split on the question and more than 60 percent of Coloradans, who already enjoy legalized marijuana, are fine with it.”
“Young people overwhelmingly favor legalization of marijuana, while older folks are not so high on its recreational use. But there is very little gender gap in these three states. Although about half or more voters across the three states support legalization of marijuana for personal use, very few voters say they would partake in it.”
Quinnipiac University released the results from another poll last week, which found strong support for marijuana reform in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, three other key swing states. Per that poll:
Voters in three critical swing states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, support legalization of medical marijuana by margins of 5-1 or more and also support legalization of recreational marijuana use by smaller margins, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.
Support for medical marijuana is 84 – 14 percent in Florida, 84 – 15 percent in Ohio and 88 – 10 percent in Pennsylvania, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.
Support for allowing adults “to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use” is 55 – 42 percent in Florida, 52 – 44 percent in Ohio and 51 – 45 percent in Pennsylvania.
But swing state voters say they don’t plan to use marijuana themselves:
17 percent of Florida voters say they “definitely” or “probably” would use it, while 81 percent say they “probably” or “definitely” would not;
14 percent of Ohio voters say they “definitely” or “probably would use it, while 84 percent say “definitely” or “probably” not;
15 percent of Pennsylvania voters say they are likely to try, while 83 percent say no.
“Bare majorities in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania say they support allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, and more than eight in 10 say it should be available for medical uses,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.
Tom Angell from the Marijuana Majority had the following to say about the poll results:
“Legalization isn’t just some liberal trend on the coasts. It’s a mainstream issue with majority voter support in crucial states that national politicians need to win. Presidential candidates would do well to start courting the cannabis constituency instead of running away from us.”