At least half of Americans support legalizing marijuana, recent polls have shown. But even among Americans who think the drug should be illegal, few are so strongly opposed that they would report a pot-smoking neighbor to the police.
According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, Americans support legalizing marijuana by a margin of 50 percent to 32 percent. But the number of people who would call the cops on a neighbor is much lower than that. Only 16 percent said they would report their neighbor to the police if they saw that person smoking marijuana in their home or yard, while 70 percent said they wouldn't do that.
Even Americans who think marijuana should be illegal were unlikely to take that step. Among opponents of legalized pot, only 34 percent said they would call the police on their neighbor for smoking weed, while 47 percent said they would not. And although Republicans oppose legalizing marijuana by a 53 percent to 29 percent margin, they also said by a 56 percent to 27 percent margin that they wouldn't call the police on their neighbor for smoking it.
Not surprisingly, the vast majority of legalization supporters said they would not call the police on a neighbor for smoking marijuana -- although a 7 percent minority must really hate their neighbors, saying they would call the police even though they think the drug should be legal.
Overall, the 16 percent of Americans who said they would call the police on their neighbor for smoking pot was fewer than the number that would report a neighbor for playing loud music late at night (31 percent) or even for letting their dog run around the neighborhood off a leash (25 percent). By contrast, 80 percent said they would call the police if they suspected someone in the house was being physically abused.
Americans were somewhat more likely to say they would call the police if their neighbor was growing marijuana in their home or yard than if they were merely enjoying it there. Even then, though, only 34 percent said they would report it, while 48 percent said they would not.
But this, it seems, is where opponents of marijuana legalization draw the line in terms of turning a blind eye to their neighbors' activities. Proponents of legalization said by a 70 percent to 14 percent margin that they would not call the police over a neighbor growing marijuana, while opponents said by a 63 percent to 23 percent margin that they would. And while most Democrats and independents would look the other way if their neighbor were growing weed, Republicans said by a 52 percent to 31 percent margin that they would not.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted April 24-25 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.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.