Legalizing pot is popular in Pennsylvania. President Donald Trump is not.
That’s the conclusion of a new Franklin & Marshall College Poll released Thursday, based on telephone interviews with 540 registered voters in the state.
Fifty-nine percent of those polled support legalizing marijuana for recreational use, a sharp reversal from when the poll first asked the question in 2006, when just 22 percent approved.
Sixty-one percent of voters hold an unfavorable view of Trump, with 52 percent saying they feel “strongly” about that, while 38 percent hold a favorable view.
Both questions split down partisan lines. Support for marijuana legalization was strong among Democrats (71 percent) and independents (77 percent) while a majority of Republicans (54 percent) opposed it.
Age was a divider too. Voters under 35 (80 percent) and 35 to 54 (67 percent) supported the idea while voters over 55 (51 percent) did not.
Support for legalizing marijuana was strongest in Philadelphia, at 85 percent, and weakest in central Pennsylvania, where just 48 percent of registered voters approved.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is nearly halfway through a listening tour of the state’s 67 counties on marijuana legalization, said he has found support running close to 70 percent at the meetings he’s held, even in counties where Republicans hold strong majorities.
“Everyone is interested in talking about it,” Fetterman, a Democrat who took office in January, said.
As for Trump, 91 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents said he was doing a poor or fair job as president, while 66 percent of Republicans said he was doing an excellent or good job. Trump’s support was weakest in Philadelphia, with 85 percent disapproval, and strongest in Southwest Pennsylvania, with 59 percent approving the president’s performance. That region was the only part of the state where Trump won a majority of support in the poll.
Just 36 percent of voters polled said Trump deserves reelection, while 61 percent said he does not.
Pollster G. Terry Madonna conducted the survey, which is subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points, from March 18 to March 24. The last day of interviews coincided with U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress summarizing the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump and his campaign did not conspire with Russia during the 2016 election but punting on the question of whether the president obstructed justice during the investigation.
Trump declared vindication. Madonna predicted moderate improvement in the short term for the president’s numbers, while noting Trump’s polling averages show little variation over time compared with other presidents.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s going to get a slight bump as a result of it,” Madonna said of Barr’s letter.
An average of national presidential job approval polls compiled Wednesday by the website Real Clear Politics showed Trump with a 51.9 percent disapproval rating and 43.6 approval.