April 14, 2015 - With Big Age, Party Gaps, Iowa Voters Split On Marijuana, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds; Colorado, Virginia Voters Back Recreational Pot Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
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With big age and partisan gaps, Iowa voters are divided 47 - 47 percent on whether the state should legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today. Voters in Virginia support so-called recreational pot 54 - 41 percent, as Colorado voters still back their first-in-the-nation experiment 62 - 34 percent.

By margins of about 10-1, voters in each state support the use of medical marijuana, the Swing State Poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on key states in the presidential election.

Governors in all three states enjoy strong job approval ratings:
  • 52 - 38 percent for Gov. John Hickenlooper in Colorado;
  • 53 - 36 percent for Gov. Terry Branstad in Iowa;
  • 50 - 28 percent for Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Virginia.
"Voters in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia often disagree about the big issues of the day - taxes, government spending, gay marriage and abortion. Yet there is one thing that they pretty much agree upon across state lines - medicinal pot," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. "Huge majorities in all three states think marijuana should be legally available for medical use. In once-stately Virginia there is majority support for allowing adults to possess small amounts of the drug for personal use. Iowans are split on the question and more than 60 percent of Coloradans, who already enjoy legalized marijuana, are fine with it."

"Young people overwhelmingly favor legalization of marijuana, while older folks are not so high on its recreational use. But there is very little gender gap in these three states. Although about half or more voters across the three states support legalization of marijuana for personal use, very few voters say they would partake in it."

Colorado

In an early look at the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Colorado, U.S. Rep. Michael Coffman, a Republican, runs better than his wife, State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, against Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Matchups show:
  • Michael Coffman gets 43 percent to Bennet's 40 percent.
  • Bennet leads Cynthia Coffman 44 - 36 percent.
Colorado voters approve 46 - 29 percent of the job Bennet is doing and give him a 40 - 27 percent favorability rating. Michael Coffman gets a 30 - 23 percent favorability rating, with 47 percent who haven't heard enough about him to form an opinion.

For Cynthia Coffman, 75 percent haven't heard enough to form an opinion.

Voters approve 46 - 31 percent of the job U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is doing.

Only 18 percent of Colorado voters say they've tried marijuana since it became legal January 1, 2014. That includes 39 percent of voters 18 to 34 years old, 16 percent of voters 35 to 54 years old and 10 percent of voters over 55 years old.

"The two Coffmans have their eye on the same Senate seat," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "And Democrat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, for now, sees a challenge from just one of them.

"Just because they voted for it doesn't mean legalized marijuana turns them on. Only a handful of Coloradans, including younger voters, says legalization encouraged them to light up."

Iowa

Iowa voters are divided 47 - 47 percent on whether they support legalized recreational use of marijuana. There is almost no gender gap. Support is 62 - 32 percent among Democrats, while Republicans are opposed 64 - 30 percent. Independent voters are divided with 49 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed.

Support for personal use of marijuana is 62 - 32 percent among voters 18 to 34 years old, while voters 35 to 54 years old are divided 47 - 47 percent and voters over 55 years old are opposed 53 - 41 percent.

Only 12 percent of Iowa voters say they definitely or probably would use marijuana if it were legal.

Voters support 87 - 11 percent the legalization of marijuana for medical use.

Iowa voters approve 67 - 21 percent of the job U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is doing and say 53 - 34 percent he deserves reelection. U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst gets a 48 - 27 percent approval rating.

"Iowans are the least supportive of legalization of personal use of marijuana among the three states tested, although their support of legal medical marijuana is not much different from the other states," Brown said.

Virginia

Virginia voters support the legalization of medical marijuana 86 - 11 percent and favor legalization of recreational marijuana 54 - 41 percent.

There is a small gender gap on the issue of recreational marijuana. Support is 68 - 27 percent among Democrats and 53 - 41 percent among independent voters, with Republicans opposed 57 - 40 percent.

Voters 18 to 34 years old support recreational marijuana 75 - 21 percent, while voters 35 to 54 percent support it 59 - 36 percent. Voters over 55 years old are opposed 52 - 43 percent.

But only 15 percent of Virginia voters say they definitely or probably would use marijuana if it were legal.

Voters approve 57 - 28 percent of the job U.S. Sen. Mark Warner is doing and give Tim Kaine a 49 - 32 percent approval rating.

"Virginians are quite happy with their politicians. U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and Gov. Terry McAuliffe - all Democrats - received positive job approval ratings from their constituents, not a normal occurrence in today's political climate," Brown said.

From March 29 - April 7 Quinnipiac University surveyed:
  • 894 Colorado voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points;
  • 948 Iowa voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points;
  • 961 Virginia voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.
Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter @QuinnipiacPoll.

15a. (CO only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Michael Bennet the Democrat and Mike Coffman the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     CO
 
Bennet               40%
Coffman, Mike        43
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3
DK/NA                14
 
 
15b. (CO only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Michael Bennet the Democrat and Cynthia Coffman the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     CO
 
Bennet               44%
Coffman, Cynthia     36
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      5
DK/NA                15
 
 
15c. (CO only) Is your opinion of Michael Bennet favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     CO
 
Favorable            40%
Unfavorable          27
Hvn't hrd enough     32
REFUSED               1
 
 
15d. (CO only) Is your opinion of Mike Coffman favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     CO
 
Favorable            30%
Unfavorable          23
Hvn't hrd enough     47
REFUSED               1
 
 
15e. (CO only) Is your opinion of Cynthia Coffman favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                     CO
 
Favorable            12%
Unfavorable          13
Hvn't hrd enough     75
REFUSED               -
 
 
16. Do you approve or disapprove of the way - (CO) John Hickenlooper / (IA) Terry Branstad / (VA) Terry McAuliffe - is handling his job as Governor?
                     CO            IA            VA
                     Hickenlooper  Branstad      McAuliffe
 
Approve              52%           53%           50%
Disapprove           38            36            28
DK/NA                10            11            22
 
 
17-18. Do you approve or disapprove of the way - (CO) Cory Gardner, Michael Bennet / (IA) Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley / (VA) Tim Kaine, Mark Warner - is handling (his/her) job as United States Senator?
                     CO...............       IA...............       VA.............
                     Gardner    Bennet       Ernst    Grassley       Kaine    Warner
 
Approve              46%        46%          48%      67%            49%      57%
Disapprove           31         29           27       21             32       28
DK/NA                24         25           25       12             20       15
 
 
18a. (IA only) Looking ahead to the 2016 election for United States Senator, do you feel that Chuck Grassley deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?
                     IA
 
Yes/Deserves         53%
No/Does not          34
DK/NA                13
 
 
40. Do you support or oppose allowing adults in - (CO) Colorado / (IA) Iowa / (VA) Virginia - to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use?
                     CO     IA     VA
 
Support              62%    47%    54%
Oppose               34     47     41
DK/NA                 4      6      5
 
 
41. Do you support or oppose allowing adults in - (CO) Colorado / (IA) Iowa / (VA) Virginia - to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it?
                     CO     IA     VA
 
Support              89%    87%    86%
Oppose                8     11     11
DK/NA                 3      3      3
 
 
41a. (CO only) Have you used marijuana after recreational sales began in Colorado January 1st 2014?
                     CO
 
Yes                  18%
No                   79
DK/NA                 3
 
 
41b. (IA only) If marijuana were legalized for recreational use in Iowa would you definitely use it, probably use it, probably not use it, or definitely not use it?
                     IA
 
Definitely use        4%
Probably use          8
Probably not use     19
Definitely not use   67
DK/NA                 2
 
 
41c. (VA only) If marijuana were legalized for recreational use in Virginia would you definitely use it, probably use it, probably not use it, or definitely not use it?
                     VA
 
Definitely use        7%
Probably use          8
Probably not use     16
Definitely not use   69
DK/NA                 1
 
 
Additional info by state:
Colorado: Trends and Crosstabs Sample and Methodology detail
Iowa: Trends and Crosstabs Sample and Methodology detail
Virginia: Trends and Crosstabs Sample and Methodology detail