Poll: Opposition to recreational marijuana amendment grows, but slight majority still favor

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 7,512 views 

Voter attitudes toward recreational marijuana have shifted significantly over the last month, according to a new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll.

The survey, conducted on Oct. 17-18, 2022, collected opinions from 974 likely Arkansas voters statewide. Respondents were asked:

Q. On November 8th, voters will be asked to consider one proposed constitutional amendment proposed by the people. Issue 4 would authorize the possession, personal use, and consumption of cannabis by adults in Arkansas sold by licensed adult use dispensaries and provide for the regulation of those facilities. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against Issue 4?

Definitely for – 36.5%
Probably for – 14%  (50.5% For)
Probably against – 9.5%
Definitely against – 33.5%  (43% Against)
Undecided – 6.5%

One month ago, a TB&P-Hendrix Poll showed support at 58.5%, while 29% were opposed and 12.5% were undecided.

“Issue 4, which would legalize adult use cannabis, has seen tremendous movement over the past month. Opponents have been able to improve their standing by swaying undecided voters and even peeling off some soft support that was once there. I think the media campaigns for and against this measure make it the most interesting statewide race to watch on Election Night,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief.

Talk Business & Politics seeks bipartisan input in the construction and analysis of its polls.

Dr. Jay Barth, emeritus professor of politics at Hendrix College, is active in Democratic Party politics and helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:

“The big change in this survey from the September poll has been on Issue 4. At our last poll’s release, the Supreme Court had not yet determined whether votes would be counted on the measure placed on the ballot via the petition process. Soon thereafter, the Supreme Court greenlighted the counting of ballots and campaigning began in earnest on both sides. While support for legalization of recreational marijuana remains with majority support in this survey, the measure has lost about 8 points support in recent weeks. Meanwhile, the opposition has popped up 14 points. Undecided numbers, already relatively low, have also disappeared.

“In this survey we also allowed supporters and opponents to group themselves into certain or probable support on the measures. Here, opposition is more firm in its views with more supporters of Issue 4 still open to changing their views on the issue between now and casting a vote. An issue that felt like a slam dunk before the Supreme Court action now feels like a very close call. Issue 4 is, for sure, advantaged but this one will likely be close.

“In terms of the attitudes of subgroups of voters, Democrats, the youngest subset of voters, and African-American voters are the most supportive. Independents also continue to show majority support, although those margins have dropped a bit since September. It is Republican voters who have shifted most fervently with six in 10 GOPers now in opposition while a plurality supported the measure in September. College educated voters along with voters in the 2nd Congressional District also both show majority support.”

Robert Coon, managing partner with Impact Management Group, which works with Republican political candidates, also helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:

“Support for Issue 4 has fallen since September by 8-percentage points, while opposition has grown by an even greater amount – 14-percentage points. Younger voters continue to support Issue 4 by large margins; however, support has fallen among 45-64 year olds in particular (-15%). Republican voters have now turned against the ballot measure with opposition among that group growing to 60%, compared to 41% who opposed it in September. While Democrats are unchanged, support has dropped by 12-percentage points and opposition has risen by 13-percentage points among Independents. The trend line heading into Election Day is one that should concern supporters and energize opponents, and will likely make the vote much closer than previously expected.”

The survey of 974 likely Arkansas voters was conducted Oct. 17-18, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.9%.

Under 30 – 5%
Between 30-44 – 20%
Between 45-64 – 40%
65 and over – 35%

Black 9%
Asian 0.5%
White 86%
Hispanic 1%
Other 3.5%

Party affiliation
Democrat 26%
Independent 27.5%
Republican 42%
Other 4.5%

Female 52%
Male 48%

College graduate 36%
Non-college graduate 64%

Responses were collected via SMS by phone. The poll is slightly weighted to account for key demographics including age, ethnicity, education, and gender.

All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College. A link back to this specific story is also required for any digital or online usage by other media outlets.

For interviews, contact Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock by email at [email protected].