According to ‘The Siena Research Institute,’ a recent poll they conducted showed that 50 percent of New York residents back legalization for medical purposes, with 41 percent saying they are opposed, and 9 percent need more information to decide (click here). The poll was conducted by Steven Greenberg, who broke down the information; 72% of people who considered themselves ‘liberal’ supported medical marijuana, 62% of people between the ages 18 to 34 supported it, and 55% of people claiming to be registered Democrats would vote to approve it. Contrast these numbers with the opposition; 61% of people who consider themselves ‘conservative’ would vote against it, as would 48% of people over 55, and 59% of people claiming to be registered Republicans. The poll, which was published earlier today, involved 810 registered voters who were polled last week, with a margin of error of 3.4%.
To be perfectly honest, these numbers are a little disappointing. I have seen recent national polls that put the number of people that approve of medical marijuana in the neighborhood of 80%. This is not to be confused with recreational legalization, which has much less support in national polls. So either New York is more conservative than people think, or this poll is flawed. I’m not saying that the poll was purposively tampered with; I am saying that maybe the poll does not reflect the truth, despite the best control efforts of the Siena Research Institute. Where did they take this poll? Did they have participants from throughout New York, or did they focus their efforts in Northern New York State, which is much more conservative than other parts of NY. It would have been best to find participants in all parts of the state, and make sure the proportion of participants in certain areas reflects the proportion of population in that area.
Of course, the numbers could have been lower than expected because most marijuana sympathizers (medical or recreational) are paranoid of a backlash from friends, family, and the Man. A stranger stops you on the street or calls your phone and asks if you support marijuana; how would you answer? I’d imagine many people would either lie and say they are against it, or just not answer. Compare that with a raging conservative, who is frothing at the mouth to tell anyone that will listen just how much he/she hates ‘dope’ and ‘dopers.’ If you were to look at the return rate between the two parties, I guarantee the Siena Research Institute got a 100% response rate from conservatives, and a very low response rate from everyone else. Also consider the fact that if this was a telephone poll, such polls are only conducted using DIAL UP PHONE NUMBERS! How many people have those these days…Oh that is right, only demographics that tend to be conservative! Long story short, don’t read too much into this poll if you are in New York, stay active, you will get the right to medicate sooner than later!