A majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, polls now show. But that's where support for drug legalization ends. A series of HuffPost/YouGov surveys conducted over the past several months found that few Americans want to repeal the laws against any other illegal drug.
In a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in February, 51 percent said they support legalizing marijuana, and 70 percent said they wanted to legalize medical marijuana.
But two other HuffPost/YouGov polls conducted in January and last November found that few Americans want to go further. For most of the drugs they were asked about, the level of support for legalization was about 10 percent or less.
Support for legalizing marijuana divides along party lines, with 62 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents and only 32 percent of Republicans backing legal pot in the most recent poll. But the idea of legalizing other drugs draws little support across the political spectrum. While Republicans tended to favor legalization the least, support among Democrats and independents didn't reach 20 percent for any drug and was lower for most.
The age gap on marijuana also shrank dramatically for most other drugs. Younger Americans were for the most part only slightly more likely than older Americans to back legalization of other drugs, even though those under age 65 are much more likely than those over 65 to support legalizing marijuana.
Just because Americans don't want these other drugs to be legal, however, doesn't mean they think current drug laws are fair. The November poll found that while few wanted to legalize drugs like heroin and cocaine, more than half said a first-time conviction for possession of those drugs should not result in jail time. Another HuffPost/YouGov poll, conducted last August, found that only a third of Americans support mandatory minimum sentences. Not surprisingly, then, a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in January last year found only 1 in 5 Americans think the benefits of the war on drugs have been worth the costs.
The HuffPost/YouGov polls were conducted Feb. 13-14 and Jan. 29-30 this year and Nov. 23-24 last year, each among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.