Spanning across 35 subgroups divided by ideology, religiosity, and age, the majority of nearly every demographic supported legal cannabis in the U.S. with just two exceptions: Older conservatives ages 50+, and “people who attend church weekly.”
Gallup recently released a poll with the latest data conducted on Oct. 3 to 20. Study results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,009 adults living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The list includes people from all walks of life, male and female, Democrat and Republican. Per usual, landline and cell phone telephone numbers were selected using random digit dial methods.
And using this and combined data gathered over the past five years—2018 through 2022—they released a stronger aggregated analysis of demographic differences in views about pot legalization, which they say is better than providing data from one poll alone.
Holding steady for the past two years, a record-high 68% of Americans across the board said they support legal pot. That number remained unchanged since the poll was conducted in 2020 and 2021.
Gallup Results Across Ideologies
People with no religious preference topped the list at 89%, liberals closed in second at 84%, Democrats at 81%, young adults close behind at 79%, and those who seldom or never attend religious services next at 78%.
The only subgroups that did not favor legal pot by majority are those who attend church weekly at 46% and conservatives at 49%—however younger conservatives ages 18 to 49 favored pot legalization slightly. Baby boomer conservatives, however, are a different story.
“Americans have grown much more supportive of legalizing marijuana over the past two decades, but support appears to be leveling off for now, not showing any change in the past three years,” wrote Jeffrey M. Jones in the poll report.
Protestants and Catholics showed equal support for legal pot at 60% each. It appears that college education changes attitudes to be more positive about cannabis: graduates supported legal pot more than non-graduates, with 69% and 66%, respectively. Stay in school, folks.
“While majorities of most major subgroups are in favor of legalizing marijuana, there are a few holdouts—-namely, political conservatives and regular churchgoers,” he continued. “Small segments of the population (in particular, older conservatives) are still disinclined to think marijuana use should be legal. However, younger conservatives and younger moderates are more inclined than their older counterparts to think cannabis should be legal. As such, in future decades support for legalizing marijuana can be expected to continue to grow as newer, likely more pro-marijuana, generations replace older generations in the U.S. population.”
Suburban residents supported legal pot the most at 72%, more than city residents (67%) and rural residents (60%). Men were also slightly more supportive of legal pot (70%) than women (65%).
The Growing Support of Legal Pot
In 1969, the first time Gallup conducted this poll, only 12% of Americans said cannabis should be legal. That number has gone up steadily, stalling briefly amid the “Just Say No” fever movement of the ‘80s, but climbing to 68% where it stands today.
The polls show the normalization of cannabis use in America, which is light years away from prior generations.
Time is ticking for the generations that do not support legal pot, which shrinks consistently each year. Younger conservatives—who now support legal pot—are replacing their older counterparts and pretty soon, the ballot boxes.
Download the PDF of a complete list of Gallup’s poll responses here.