A revealing new poll on US public opinion will provide some food for thought for the rival presidential candidates, in a race that has yet to be troubled by the drugs debate, with unprecedented high numbers (27%) supporting legalisation of at least some drugs, and vast majority critical of the drug war's ongoing failure:
Im not mad keen on the simplistic three choice either/or 'best way' nature of the questions, but anyway - for those interested the full data and methodology of the poll is provided with the above link.
The views of likely voters on issues involving other countries in the Western Hemisphere, including the war on drugs, immigration, and relations with Cuba, are often in contrast with current U.S. policies, a new Zogby /Inter-American Dialogue interactive survey shows.
The survey results were released this morning at the Miami Herald’s 12th Annual Americas Conference, which is taking place Thursday and Friday in Coral Gables, FL. The Zogby Interactive survey of 4,752 likely voters nationwide was conducted Sept. 23-25, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percentage points.
“The poll results indicate that American public opinion is far more open and flexible on issues of importance for US relations with Latin America than current policy would suggest,” noted Peter Hakim, the President of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank that collaborated with Zogby International on the poll. “It also suggests, however, that public opinion may not be all that relevant in decisions regarding policy issues of greatest concern to Latin America—that these may be largely determined by smaller groups with intense sentiments about the issues,” Hakim added.
Three in four likely voters (76%) believe the U.S. war on drugs is failing, a sentiment that cuts across the political spectrum – including the vast majority of Democrats (86%), political independents (81%), and most Republicans (61%). There is also a strong belief that the anti-drug effort is failing among those who intend to vote for Barack Obama (89%) for president, as well as most supporters of John McCain (61%).
When asked what they believe is the single best way to combat international drug trafficking and illicit use, 27% of likely voters said legalizing some drugs would be the best approach -- 34% of Obama supporters and 20% of McCain backers agreed.
- One in four likely voters (25%) believe stopping the drugs at the border is the best tactic to battle drugs -- 39% of McCain supporters, but just 12% of Obama backers agree.
- Overall, 19% of likely voters said reducing demand through treatment and education should be the top focus of the war on drugs.
- 13% believe that the best way to fight the war on drugs is to prevent production of narcotics in the country of origin.