(Reuters) - Washington state residents are leaning toward allowing same-sex marriage and legalizing marijuana for recreational use ahead of November elections that will put those decisions directly to the state’s voters, a poll showed.
This week’s survey from Public Policy Polling suggests Washington voters may be in the mood to forge new ground and marks the first time the Democratic survey firm has found a majority in favor of same-sex marriage in the Pacific Northwest state.
No state has legalized marijuana for recreational use, and gay marriage has so far been rejected in states where the question has been put directly to voters, including in California.
Public Policy Polling found 51 percent of Washington state voters supported gay marriage, while 42 percent believed it should be illegal and 7 percent were undecided.
As for marijuana legalization, the firm found 50 percent of state voters support the November ballot measure that would legalize pot for recreational use, while 37 percent oppose it. The rest are undecided.
Voters in Colorado are also set to vote in November on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use there.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow medical cannabis, with varying rules on how patients can obtain it.
The Public Policy Polling survey results were released on Tuesday and are based on a telephone survey of 1,073 voters in Washington state conducted from June 14 to June 17, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law in February a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, but it was blocked from going into effect earlier this month when opponents submitted enough signatures to force a November referendum on whether to repeal the statute.
Gregoire is a Democrat and the party’s lawmakers, who control both legislative bodies in the state capital of Olympia, accounted for the lion’s share of support for gay marriage in the state.
The survey by Public Policy Polling found 82 percent of Democratic voters in Washington state support same-sex marriage. Some 55 percent of people under 65 support it while 56 percent of seniors are opposed.
Six states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. Nationally, several polls have found more Americans support same-sex marriage than oppose it, in a shift in attitude that began to be seen two years ago after decades of opposition to the idea in public opinion.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Vicki Allen