Marijuana legalization is more popular among Americans than banning the sale of assault-style weapons or raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, pollsters said Monday.
A nationwide survey conducted by Marist Poll for NPR and PBS NewsHour sought opinions on 20 different progressive policies proposed by Democrats running in the 2020 U.S. presidential race, including reforms to federal drug, gun and wage laws supported by several candidates.
Sixty-three percent of the 1,345 adults surveyed said that legalizing marijuana is a “good idea,” making it the fifth most popular among the policies mentioned by pollsters.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they favored banning the sale of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47 or the AR-15, while 56% said they supported more than doubling the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Marijuana is legal in most states but federally outlawed. Nearly all of the candidates currently competing for the Democratic presidential nomination have advocated ending the government’s prohibition on pot if elected.
A different gun control measure supported by most of the Democrats currently running in the 2020 race — closing the so-called “gun show loophole” on background checks — polled highest among the policies included in the survey. Eighty-nine percent said it would be a good idea to require background checks for guns sold at shows and other private sales, including 96% of Democrats and 84% of Republicans, making that measure easily the most popular of the policies mentioned in the poll.
Broken down by party lines, the results of the poll suggest that not all of the other progressive policies enjoyed bipartisan support to the same degree. While nearly three-fourths of Democrat respondents said it would be a good idea to legalize marijuana, only 41% of Republicans answered likewise. Eighty-three percent of Democrats said it would be a good idea to ban the sale of semi-automatic guns compared to only 29% of Republicans polled; 84% of Democrats said it would be a good idea to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, compared to 26% of Republicans.
Other progressive policies less popular among respondents than legalizing marijuana include rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, offering free college tuition, abolishing the electoral college, providing reparations for slavery and decriminalizing illegal border crossings.
The results of a Gallup poll released in 2016 found that 64% of Americans support legalizing marijuana at the federal level. More recently, Quinnipiac University said in March that 60 percent of people surveyed agreed that the use of marijuana should be made legal in the U.S.
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