Marijuana is a hot topic right now, and with the legalization in states like Colorado and Washington, many other states will soon be putting pot on the ballot. But marijuana just might be the “holy grail” in the upcoming 2014 midterm elections and beyond.
A recent George Washington University Battleground poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters and found 73 percent in support of legalizing marijuana and 53 percent in favor of decriminalization of the drug. In addition, 68 percent said they were more likely to go to the polls if marijuana was on the ballot.
Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners and one of the two pollsters who conducted the survey said, “Marijuana legalization and marijuana decriminalization is at a tipping point.” Both parties are in support of legalizing the drug but the motivation is higher among younger, single voters who tend to pull the Democratic vote.
68 percent of GOP voters said they were “extremely likely” to vote in November, however, compared to just 57 percent of Democrats. There seems to be an overall dissatisfaction with government on both sides, thanks in part to President Obama’s low approval rating and the dismal rate of growth of the economy. 82 percent of those polled disapproved of the job that Congress is doing.
This recent poll comes on the heels of the 2014 CPAC straw poll where 41 percent of conservatives (or so-called “conservatives”) polled were in support of legalizing marijuana, both medically and recreationally. While the largest demographic in the CPAC poll were those aged 18–25, support for legalizing the drug crossed various age groups.
It’s no coincidence that 41 percent of conservatives supported marijuana, and that Rand Paul was chosen as the GOP presidential nominee in the CPAC poll with 31 percent of the vote. Rand Paul has been outspoken in his support of the decriminalization of marijuana, although not as forthrightly as his father Ron Paul, who introduced bipartisan legislation allowing states to legalize and control marijuana without federal interference.
Libertarianism seems to be sweeping into the Republican Party. So where does that leave the Republican vote, especially regarding marijuana?
Liberal commentators are taking notice of this marijuana shift and the fact that many Republicans are vying for Rand Paul in the 2016 election. A recent article in the Daily Beast compared Paul with the recent movie Divergent as “different” and “dangerous” and summing up his positions as “libertarian-leaning politics [which] are gaining adherents among the plurality of Americans fed up with bible-thumping, war-happy, budget-busting Republicans and promise-breaking, drone-dispatching, budget-busting Democrats.”
Could Democrats jump ship for the Republican Party over marijuana and the gaining Libertarian momentum? Will pot be a factor in dividing the Republican Party in the upcoming elections? It’s a topsy-turvy world when the party of the 1980s Reagan Era “War on Drugs” now supports putting the 1960s peace loving weed on the ballot box.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.