Could there really be hope for a better tomorrow? First, Americans elect the candidate running on the “tax-the-rich” platform, discarding the challenger who peddled austerity for everyone but millionaires. Weed legalization and same-sex marriage also made small but commendable advances in the 2012 election.
A month later, we have confirmation that Americans are getting wiser about weed, gays and even climate change – and you can thank young people for all that, says a new poll from the independent Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.
Weed Will Be Street Legal In Our Lifetimes
The poll, which surveyed 1,948 voters nationwide from Nov. 28-Dec. 3, found that the majority of Americans support marijuana legalization, by a margin of 51 percent to 44 percent.
Young voters aged 18 to 29 years old support legalizing weed 67 percent to 29 percent. Men are the second leading demographic group, with 59 percent supporting an end to marijuana prohibition.
“Given the better than 2-1 majority among younger voters, legalization is just a matter of time,” commented Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
If Your Future Babies Are Gay, Their Marriage Will Be Legal, Too
Signaling what may be an inevitable shift, more registered voters now support same-sex marriage (48 percent) than oppose it (46 percent). Just four years ago, 55 percent of Americans opposed gay marriage.
Democrats and Hispanics support gay marriage by the widest margins, with 65 percent of Democrats in favor and 61 percent of Hispanics. Among college-educated white people, 60 percent support gay marriage. Women are in favor of gay marriage 52 percent to 42 percent.
Since 2008, gay marriage gained 12 percentage points among men, who boosted support from 31 percent to 43 percent. Four years ago, only 40 percent of women supported gay marriage; now, 52 percent of female voters think it should be legalized.
Interestingly, white Catholics support gay marriage 49 percent to 43 percent; however, white Protestants oppose same-sex marriage 63 percent to 32 percent.
“Since voters 18 to 29 years old support same-sex marriage 63 percent to 35 percent, once again we see it’s just a matter of time [before legalization of same-sex marriage becomes the norm],” Brown said in the Quinnipiac release.
Climate Change Awareness Growing – But Not Fast Enough
Unfortunately, conservative voters – and the politicians they elect – are hindering acceptance of climate change.
Only 14 percent of Republicans think climate change caused Superstorm Sandy, while 55 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of Independents think global warming caused the storm. Overall, Americans say 53 percent to 37 percent that climate change was not responsible for Sandy.
However, 66 percent of respondents (2 out of 3) say they are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about climate change, that’s up 7 percentage points from 2009, when 59 percent expressed concern about climate change.
As is often the case, popular opinion is with President Obama with the so-called “Benghazi-Gate.” Approximately 47 percent of voters believe the Obama administration shared what they knew about the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the Libyan consulate that killed four people. Just 41 percent of Americans think the administration deliberately misled the public.
Also, American voters support Obama’s “Dream Act” immigration policy to allow young immigrants to stay in the U.S. by one of the greatest majorities of any poll question, with 70 percent approving of the more compassionate approach to immigration reform.
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.