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October 2008
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How’s that war on drugs going?

Zogby poll

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.
[Thanks, Malakkar]

Interesting numbers.
First, the 76% number for those who think the drug war is failing is huge. That’s even more than think President Bush is doing a bad job.
27% for legalization (at least in part) is pretty good as well. Sure, we’d like more, but considering what we’re up against in years of propaganda, that’s not bad.
What makes that even more interesting is that, despite the built-in hesitancy to consider legalization, they seem unable to come up with any other ideas that they like better (and they sure don’t like the status quo).
Finally, with numbers like these, how can the academics continue to claim that legalization is not a practical option for discussion?

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