Three out of four Tennesseans support legalization of marijuana, according to a new poll from Vanderbilt University.
Thirty-three percent of survey respondents said pot should be legal for personal use, while 42 percent said it should only be legal for medicinal use. Twenty-two percent said it should not be legal.
The polling results come as more states are passing laws that decriminalize use of the drug. Marijuana is now legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia in some form. Colorado and Washington have made it legal for recreational use.
Vanderbilt’s biannual poll tracks public opinion on elected officials, pending laws and social issues in Tennessee. The survey of 1,505 state residents included 1,245 registered voters and was conducted from April 28 to May 13. Respondents were contacted by cellphone and landline. The overall poll has a 3 percent margin of error.
The poll shows Sen. Lamar Alexander, who is being challenged in the Republican primary this August, with a strong lead over his closest opponent, state Rep. Joe Carr. Sixty-four percent of GOP primary voters have a favorable view of Alexander, but 55 percent have never heard of Carr. Those numbers coincide with internal polling released by Alexander’s campaign earlier this month.
“Sen. Alexander’s 64 percent favorable rating among Republicans is consistent with other polls and shows a commanding lead over a largely unknown field of challengers,” a campaign spokesperson said in a written statement.
In November, Tennesseans will vote on an amendment to the state constitution that would give the General Assembly more power to regulate abortions. The survey shows that 71 percent of registered voters oppose the amendment.
A majority of registered voters, 53 percent, are in favor of allowing permit-holders to carry firearms in public parks. Republicans, tea party members and independents all support it, while Democrats mostly oppose it.
Gov. Bill Haslam has a 58 percent approval rating amongst registered voters, according to the poll. His Tennessee Promise initiative to provide free tuition at two-year colleges for high school graduates has strong statewide support of 85 percent. Common Core education standards are supported by 58 percent of registered voters.
The General Assembly has an approval rating of 49 percent.
Updated @ 8:03 a.m. on 5/22/14 to correct a typographical error.
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