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New poll shows over half of Arizonans support legalizing marijuana

(Getty Images Photo/Justin Sullivan)

PHOENIX — A majority of Arizonans now support legalizing marijuana, according to a new poll.

OH Predictive Insights surveyed 600 likely Arizona voters by phone Feb. 12-13 and found that 52 percent favored legalization.

Those opposed made up 41 percent, while 7 percent were undecided. The poll had a margin of error of 4 percent.

OH Predictive Insights conducted two similar polls in 2016. Both times the number of legalization supporters failed to reach a majority, peaking at 43 percent in September that year.

“We polled this … three years ago when it was on the ballot in 2016 and we correctly predicted that it would lose,” Noah Rudnick, senior data analyst, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

“This is the first time we’ve polled that over 50 percent of people are in support of marijuana legalization, which is a big deal, especially as it looks like it’s going to be up for a vote again this cycle.”

About 73 percent of the Democratic respondents supported legalization, while 19 percent opposed it and 8 percent were undecided.

About 58 percent of Republicans opposed it, with 35 percent supporting and 7 percent undecided.

Independents fell in the middle, with 49 percent supporting, 43 percent opposing and 8 percent undecided.

“We saw a thing where last time when we polled this … Democrats weren’t as on board with it but Republicans were very much opposed to it,” Rudnick said.

“And this time you see it’s sort of flipped the other way — so now Democrats are very much in favor of it, even older Democrats are 70 percent in favor, and Republicans are seeing cracks.”

Rudnick said one of the reasons for the flip may be a difference in word choice.

“So the old ballot said would marijuana be used recreationally. … This time we specified whether it would be for adult use. So I think a lot of that is how people perceive it,” he said.

“If you’re looking at, like, alcohol, a lot of people think ‘ah recreational, I’m worried about the kids’ … but if you specifically put adult use, it puts people’s minds at rest.”

Men favored legalization at 57 percent, while women did at a smaller margin with 47 percent supporting and 44 percent opposed.

Rudnick said in 2016, more women opposed legalization than supported it.

In the most recent poll, respondents aged 18 to 54 were the biggest supporters of legalization, while those 65 and up opposed it overall.

“The big opposition, it mostly comes from older Republicans, older independents, they’re still not as much on board although they are coming around,” Rudnick said.

Rudnick said that if legalization was put back on the ballot, he thinks it would be likely to pass with the “adult use” language because legalization’s lead in the poll surpassed its margin of error.

“If the election were held today, and we’ve seen that it’s only been growing over time, it’s probably overwhelming likely to pass,” he said.

“It would be much more likely to pass than it would be to fail in 2020.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report. 

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