Photo: AP Photo
Photo: AP Photo

Poll: 47% in under-40 crowd say booze worse than weed

Read more of the Rare Under-40 Poll results:

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About the poll

From August 11th till the 18th, Gravis Marketing, a nonpartisan research firm, conducted a random survey of 556 under 40 voters in the United States regarding current issues that impact the political and social landscape. The poll was conducted using Gravis Marketing Internet Panels (47%) and Gravis Automated Calls (53%) on behalf of online media outlet Rare.US. Overall, the poll has a margin of error of ± 5%. The general scope of the Gravis Marketing poll was to capture opinions of registered voters under the age of 40 on political, social, religious, and economic issues. The poll included a group of 54% female registered voters and 46% male voters across the United States. The majority of those polled (39%) stated they were 'independent' voters, while 32% claim to be members of the Democratic Party and 29% registered Republicans.

About Rare

Rare.us, a Cox Media Group property based in Washington, DC, was the fastest growing major media site in the United States in August with nearly 20 million visitors -- 40 times more than the same period a year ago. This unrivaled growth is the result of leveraging social media to discover and distribute the buzzworthy and uplifting content Americans will share with their networks. 

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Young people believe that alcohol is a more destructive substance than either marijuana or tobacco, according to a new poll conducted for Rare, a Cox Media Group website based in Washington, DC.

Given the choice, 47 percent of young voters believe that alcohol does the most harm to society, while 27 percent said tobacco and only 13 percent selected marijuana. Thirteen percent were unsure.

The question was asked as part of a first-of-its-kind Rare poll that surveyed only respondents under 40. The questions were tailored to chart trends in the opinions of younger voters.

>>Read all of Rare's under-40 poll results

A gender gap emerged in the results over alcohol and tobacco. While 51 percent of women thought alcohol was the most destructive, only 42 percent of men blamed booze. Conversely, 25 percent of women were most concerned about tobacco while 30 percent of men were.

Jeffrey Miron of the libertarian Cato Institute said that all three substances could be used in moderation while all three could also be used harmfully. Still he said alcohol wouldn’t have topped his list.

“From most harmful to least, I would have said: tobacco, alcohol, marijuana,” Miron told Rare.

The data suggests a shake-up of social taboos, which have long presented alcohol as an acceptable drug while demonizing smoking. After decades of public health campaigns against cigarettes, alcohol has displaced tobacco as the public’s primary substance-abuse concern.

Sixty-four percent of Americans drink and the average American consumes about four alcoholic beverages per week, according to a Gallup survey. But the United States also has one of the lowest rates of alcohol consumption in the developed world.

Rare Data Template 5 Drugs-05

America also has a long history of tobacco cultivation and consumption, though its rate of tobacco use greatly declined in the second half of the twentieth century.

According to the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, “Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans.”

Marijuana legalization has been on the rise as several states have passed legislation allowing for medicinal or recreation purposes.

The Rare survey was conducted by nonpartisan Gravis Marketing between August 11 and August 18. A total of 556 respondents under age 40 were interviewed over the phone and using Internet panels. Overall, the poll has a margin of error of 5 percent.

Matt Naham contributed to this report.

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