(WHTM) — Whether or not recreational marijuana use should be legalized in Pennsylvania has been at the center of conversation for a while now.
Pennsylvania’s general assembly held a hearing on the legalization for the first time in history in February this year with one county district attorney saying, “Get on board. Start the regulation. Do it the right way and lead rather than follow what the trend is.”
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More state lawmakers are coming forward, revealing where they stand on the highly debated subject, but on which side do Pennsylvania voters find themselves?
A new WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll shows that 48.5% of Republicans and Democrats believe marijuana should be legalized with 35.9% saying no and just over 15% still unsure or had no opinion.
The poll was conducted from March 26-28, 2022, interviewing 1,069 Pennsylvanians with a margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points.
Broken down by party, the number of Democrats who voted yes to legalizing doubles the number of Republicans.
“Among Democratic primary voters, 62% support recreational legalization of marijuana. There are nuances of support for legalization within Democratic primary voters: 75% of Fetterman voters support legalization compared to 48% of Lamb voters,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling.
As previously reported by abc27’s Dennis Owens, in the hearing held by Pennsylvania lawmakers in February, Senate Republican leadership said recreational pot is not a top priority right now.
In the Independent Party, 51.6% of voters said yes to legalizing 32% said no and just over 16% were unsure or had no opinion.
The polling data shows that more male voters (288) than female voters (224) said yes to legalizing. However, a significant number more female voters said no (229) to legalizing compared to men (152).
Hispanic or Latino voters led in the percentage of voters who said yes to legalizing with 68.4%. White and African American voters were not too far behind though with 49.7% and 46.2% saying yes to legalizing, respectively.
Asian voters, however, had a higher percentage of 64.5% who said no to legalizing, with 19.4% unsure or with no opinion and 16.1% saying yes.
Age/Level of Education
Broken down by age, the youngest age group (18-29) had the highest percentage of voters who said yes (64.5%), with 30-49-year-olds not far behind with 57.4%. The age group with the biggest percentage of voters saying no was the 65 or more years.
Looking at the different levels of education, college graduates had 57.2% of voters saying yes, and voters with postgrad or higher education weren’t too far behind with 50.6%. Those with some college or high school experience, or less, were split with nearly 40% of voters saying yes, 40% saying no and 20% unsure/no opinion.
The United States House is poised to pass legislation this week that would legalize marijuana. The bill has near-uniform support among Democrats and a top ally in Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.).
The WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania poll was conducted from March 26-28, 2022. The general election sample consisted of registered voters in Pennsylvania, n=1,069 with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The Republican primary sample consisted of likely voters, n=372, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/-5.0 percentage points. The Democratic primary sample consisted of likely voters, n=471, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/-4.5 percentage points.
The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race, and region based on 2020 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced.
Data was collected using a cellphone sample of SMS-to-web, an online panel provided by Amazon MTurk, and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines.