A new poll has found that the majority of voters in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — three key swing states for the presidential election — all support legalizing marijuana.
The Quinnipiac University conducted the poll and found that slim majorities in the three states are for total legalization, while medical marijuana is supported by drastic margins.
In Florida, 55% of voters support legalization versus 42% against, and 84% of voters support medical marijuana versus 14% against.
In Ohio, 52% of voters support legalization versus 44% against, and 84% of voters support medical marijuana versus 15% against.
In Pennsylvania, 51% of voters support legalization versus 45% against, and 88% of voters support medical marijuana versus 10% against.
What this means is that presidential candidates in this election may be more likely to come out in support of marijuana — at least medical — in attempt to sway voters in these key swing states. For an issue which presidential hopefuls have been traditionally quiet about or "middle of the road," this will be a welcome change of pace.
In spite of the majorities in support of legalization, most voters still say they would not use marijuana personally, even if it were legal. In Florida, 6% of voters said they would definitely use, 11% would probably use, 16% would probably not use, and 65% would definitely not use. In Ohio, 5% said they would definitely use, 9% would probably use, 17% would probably not use, and 67% would definitely not use. In Pennsylvania, 5% said they would definitely use, 10% would probably use, 15% would probably not use, and 68% would definitely not use.
True to past findings, support for legalization is strongest among Democrats, with 70% of Democrats supporting it in Florida, 65% in Ohio, and 66% in Pennsylvania. However, while support of marijuana reform is still more common in Democrats and Independents than Republicans, this is no longer a strict party issue. In fact, many Republican lawmakers have taken part in enacting pro-marijuana legislation, most recently in the red state of Georgia.
As the 2016 election approaches, it will be interesting to see how big a role the candidate’s stance on marijuana plays — especially in affecting young voter turnout.