Marijuana use isn’t a political problem for presidential contenders, most Americans say in a new survey.
Seventy-four percent of U.S. adults think candidates’ past cannabis use doesn’t matter, Pew Research Center found in the poll released on Wednesday.
Six percent say past marijuana use by a candidate actually makes them more likely to earn support, while 20 percent say they’re less likely to vote for presidential contenders who toked. Because the respondents who said past use made them less likely to vote for a candidate outnumbered those who said it made them more likely to support, Pew called it a “trait that is a liability” overall.
But past marijuana use is less of a political liability than being gay, Mormon, Muslim or atheist, the survey found. And having had an extramarital affair or personal financial troubles are also more of a problem in voters’ minds than consuming cannabis is.
The overall lack of concern over candidates’ past marijuana use is fairly consistent across party lines, with 74 percent of those who are or lean Republican saying it doesn’t matter and 78 percent of those who are or lean Democrat agreeing.
Even among religious Americans, the vast majority say a candidate’s past cannabis use would make no difference. That’s especially true of white Catholics, 85 percent of whom say they don’t care about possible a president’s marijuana history.
The number of Americans who don’t care whether their president formerly used marijuana is growing. Pew asked the same question in 2014, finding that 70 percent said it didn’t make a difference. In a 2011 survey the number was 69 percent.
The new poll, based on telephone interviews of a national sample of 2,009 adults conducted January 7-14, only asked about past cannabis use and did not inquire how Americans would feel about electing a current marijuana user as president.
The last three presidents have admitted to using marijuana, and several current candidates for the job have acknowledged past cannabis consumption as well. To find out which 2016 contenders are on record as former tokers, check out Marijuana.com’s comprehensive guide to to the candidates.