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Men more likely than women to back marijuana legalization, poll finds

May 31, 2010 |  3:53 pm

Men are more likely than women to support legalizing marijuana in California, according to a new L.A. Times-USC poll. Overall, voters support the legalization proposal by 49% to 41%, with 10% uncertain about it, according to the survey of 1,506 registered voters that was conducted May 19-26.

The poll highlights a demographic group that is likely to play a key role: women, particularly those who are married. Men favor legalization, but women are split. Among married women, 49% reject the measure and 40% are in favor of the initiative.

The poll found voters closely divided on the arguments. The measure's supporters say marijuana taxes could raise more than a billion dollars in revenue; opponents dispute that. Among voters, 42% believe that estimate and 38% think it is wildly exaggerated. The November initiative authorizes cities and counties, but not the state, to legalize and tax marijuana sales.

Voters were also split over whether legalized marijuana would worsen social problems, such as by increasing crime or triggering higher marijuana use among teens. Those concerns appear to have much more potency with voters than the debate over tax revenue. Among those who oppose the initiative, 83% think it would add to the state's social woes; 55% of married women also believe that.

Read Times staff writer John Hoeffel's full story here. In the video above, Hoeffel analyzed the results.

Photo: L.A. Times