Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) recently completed a survey of New Jersey voters to assess support for a constitutional amendment to legalize, regulate, and tax adult use of marijuana.i The study found two-thirds of voters support the amendment. This support is strong, cuts across numerous demographic groups within the electorate, and holds consistent after an exchange of pro and con messages. Overall, the data show that the measure has impressive support in part because of its focus on fairness in criminal justice enforcement, social justice, and new revenue when New Jersey needs it most.
Key specific findings of the survey include:
- Given the measure’s official ballot language alone, three in five support it. As shown in Figure 1, two-thirds back the measure initially – more than double the number opposed. And a majority (53%) says they would “definitely” vote yes on the measure. In addition, an even larger number – over seven in ten (72%) – believe in principle that marijuana should be taxed, regulated, and legalized for adults.
Support for the measure cuts across most major subgroups within the New Jersey electorate, including:
- 76% of Democrats, 67% of independents, and 51% of Republicans;
- 67% of men and 65% of women;
- 77% of Latinx Voters, 68% of Black Voters, and 66% of White Voters;
- 68% of college-educated voters and 65% of those without a college degree; and
- 74% of voters under 50, 69% of those aged 50-64, and 57% of those age 65 and over; and
- At least 60% of voters in every region of the state.
- A majority of New Jerseyans support proposals for the ballot measure’s implementation that address the adverse effects of existing marijuana enforcement. As shown in Figure 2, voters most strongly support taking steps to address job, housing, and government discrimination that ensues for people with a marijuana arrest or conviction on their record.
- Support is very durable in the face of pro and con arguments. As shown in Figure 3, support is incredibly stable as voters learn more about the amendment – with approximately two-thirds in favor from start to finish.
In sum, the survey results show a strong path to victory for a measure to legalize marijuana in New Jersey. Support begins well over the threshold for passage – at two-thirds – and remains consistent as voters hear more about it. Notably, provisions for the measure’s implementation that deal with fairness in criminal justice enforcement, social justice, and new revenue for the state inspire great enthusiasm from New Jersey voters.