Thirty-three percent of likely voters and the same percentage of all Texans support legalizing and marijuana, according to a new poll conducted by University of Texas researchers and sponsored by the Texas Lyceum.
“One-third is more support than I would have predicted for it,” pollster and UT-Austin professor Darren Shaw told KUT News. “It either says something about the subtlety of opinion in Texas, or it says something about how significant the budget crunch is now.”
Possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is currently a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, according to the an analysis by the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. A bill that would have lowered that fine to $500 died in committee during the regular legislative session.
Shaw says that while support for higher income taxes and other traditional sources of government revenue remains low, there appears to be growing popularity for so-called "sin taxes," such as excises on gambling, alcohol and tobacco.
The percentage of Texans who said they support some expansion to gambling increased to 59 percent this year, compared to 50 percent in the 2010 edition of the survey.
The poll surveyed 707 Texans between May 24 and May 31 and has a 3.6 percent margin of error, 19 times out of 20. For more information on the poll’s methodology and other findings, including 75 percent opposition to concealed carry handgun laws on college campuses, check out the executive summary.