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No, women aren't overwhelmingly more likely to oppose marijuana legalization

An older woman smokes a joint in Seattle.
An older woman smokes a joint in Seattle.
Ron Wurzer / Getty Images News

The blogosphere is abuzz with a 2012 Quinnipiac University poll that suggested there is a 15-point gender gap in support for marijuana legalization. This puts women on the more conservative end of a major policy issue than men, when usually it's the other way around. But while it's true that women appear less likely to support legalizing pot than men, the gap doesn't seem to be nearly as big as the Quinnipiac poll found.

Here's a chart that compares the Quinnipiac survey to a recent Gallup survey and Fox News' 2012 and 2014 exit polls of states that actually legalized marijuana:

marijuana legalization gender gap

Not only is the gender much gap smaller than Quinnipiac found, but the majority of women in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state supported legalization.

The results could explain why legalization did better in the 2014 midterm elections than many expected. A key goal of the campaigns in Alaska and Oregon was convincing moms, who might be worried about their kids getting stoned, of the benefits of legalization. If those moms were swayed to support legalization, it's really no surprise that marijuana reformers won on Election Day.

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