Zogby Survey Results

March 28, 2002


Zogby International conducted a survey of 703 registered and likely voters in New York State, chosen at random. In addition, we interviewed a sample of 200 separate voters in New York City for a combined New York City sample of 400. All calls were made from Zogby International headquarters in Utica, N.Y., from Friday, March 22 to Sunday, March 24, 2002. The margin of error is +/-3.8% statewide and +/-5.0% in the New York City oversample. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. Weights were added to age, party, region, gender, religion and race. Note: percentages are rounded off to the nearest number and might not equal 100.

Narrative Summary

17. Last year, more than 50,000 people in New York City were arrested for possession of marijuana for personal use. In light of the events of Sept. 11 and the increased attention to the threat of terrorism, do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose arresting non-violent marijuana smokers?

NYC Oversample:

Strongly support 23%    
Somewhat support 16% Support  39%
Somewhat oppose 23%
Strongly oppose 33% Oppose  56%
Not sure 6%

A majority (56%) of New York City voters expresses opposition to arresting smokers who possess marijuana for personal use. Nearly four in 10 voters in the City support these arrests.

Voters in four of the five boroughs are opposed, including a 62% average in Manhattan and Queens. Although half of those in the Bronx are opposed, an additional 43% support the arrests. In Brooklyn, those who are opposed lead by 52%-40%.  

More than half (56%) of African Americans are opposed, a percentage equivalent to whites.

More men than women, 57% – 54%, are opposed. Women who work outside the home are more likely to identify with the views of men and Democrats, and oppose the arrests (a stunning 67%—including 40% who say they are  “strongly opposed.”)  

An average 57% of Democrats in New York City remain opposed to arresting non-violent marijuana smokers in light of the increased attention paid to terrorism. This figure grows to 65% among City residents who identify themselves as Independents. 

Not surprisingly, those in the 18-29 age group, who are often the targets of these arrests, have the strongest opposition (61%). A majority in all age groups under 65 remains opposed to the arrests.
Among those with the most divided opinions are Hispanics, senior citizens and homemakers. A slight majority of 52% of Hispanic voters says they are opposed to arresting non-violent smokers who have marijuana for their personal use.

Retirees who live in New York City support the arrests by a close 47%-42% margin, but also have the highest number of  “not sure” responses (12%). Half of women respondents who do not work outside the home support the arrests for marijuana smoking, and another 43% are opposed.

A plurality of voters on Staten Island also support the law (49%), although with 41% opposed to arresting marijuana smokers, a good deal of uncertainty remains.

Republicans, generally, are more likely to support these arrests, with 55% in favor.