Attitudes to drug law enforcement

Sep 17, 2012

Q. Do you have a close friend or relative (such as a sibling or child) that regularly uses, or regularly used, illegal drugs? 

 

Total

Yes

17%

No

81%

I’d prefer not to say

2%

Seventeen percent (17%) of respondents polled have a close friend or relative that regularly uses, or used, illegal drugs.  The vast majority did not (81%) and 2% elected not to say.

Q. How would you describe the approach to drug law enforcement in Australia:

 

Total

Have a close friend or relative

No close friend or relative

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Too harsh

8%

18%

6%

12%

4%

23%

Too soft

62%

47%

66%

57%

73%

26%

About right

18%

24%

17%

22%

15%

30%

Don’t know

11%

11%

12%

10%

8%

21%

The majority of respondents regard drug law enforcement in Australia to be too soft (62%), followed by 18% who believe it to be about right and 8% who see it as too harsh.

Those with a close friend or relative that regularly uses were far more likely to regard drug law enforcement as too harsh (18%) or about right (24%).

Looking at the results by voting intention, Greens voters were the most likely to regard drug law enforcement as too harsh (23%) whilst Coalition voters were by far the most likely to believe it to be too soft (73%).

Attitudes to decriminalization or legalization

Sep 17, 2012

Q. Thinking about the issue of illegal drugs in Australia, which has one of the highest per capita illicit drug use in the world, please indicate which position is closer to your view:

Sample A (N= 468)

 

Sample B (N=501)

 

We should decriminalise all illegal drugs (including production and trafficking within Australia) to reduce the unregulated black market trade in these substances.

8%

We should legalise all illegal drugs (including production and trafficking within Australia) to reduce the unregulated black market trade in these substances.

7%

We should decriminalise small scale illegal drug use and possession, but maintain criminal prohibitions on production and trafficking.

29%

We should legalise small scale illegal drug use and possession, but maintain criminal prohibitions on production and trafficking.

30%

We should prohibit all activities related to illegal drugs in Australia, including production, trafficking, large and small-scale production and use.

53%

We should prohibit all activities related to illegal drugs in Australia, including production, trafficking, large and small-scale production and use.

57%

None of the above

10%

None of the above

7%

The table above shows the results of a randomly split sample on attitudes to drug law reform. The total sample of 968 respondents was randomly split into two and asked a series of slightly different questions (Sample A and Sample B).  The difference between the two questions was use of language: in Sample A, ‘decriminalisation’ was used and in Sample B, ‘legalisation’ was instead used in its place.

The results show no difference between the samples on the basis of language, as the variations in percentages can be attributed to margin of error for the sample size.

Overall, we see that the most dominant attitude to drug law reform amongst both samples is to ‘prohibit all activities related to illegal drugs in Australia, including production, trafficking, large and small-scale production and use’ (53% Sample A, 57% Sample B).

About a third of respondents in each sample believe that we should ‘decriminalise/legalise small scale illegal drug use and possession, but maintain criminal prohibitions on production and trafficking’ (29% Sample A, 30% Sample B).

Attitudes to decriminalization or legalization

Sep 17, 2012

Q. Thinking about the issue of illegal drugs in Australia, which has one of the highest per capita illicit drug use in the world, please indicate which position is closer to your view:

Sample A (N= 468)

Total

Have a close friend or relative

(n=91)

No close friend or relative (n=368)

Vote Labor

(n=136)

Vote Lib/Nat

(n=209)

Vote Greens

(n=41)

We should decriminalise all illegal drugs (including production and trafficking within Australia) to reduce the unregulated black market trade in these substances.

8%

7%

8%

10%

6%

5%

We should decriminalise small scale illegal drug use and possession, but maintain criminal prohibitions on production and trafficking.

29%

48%

25%

40%

23%

44%

We should prohibit all activities related to illegal drugs in Australia, including production, trafficking, large and small-scale production and use.

53%

40%

57%

40%

62%

44%

None of the above

10%

5%

10%

10%

9%

5%

The largest portion of those respondents with a close friend or relative that regularly uses believe in decriminalizing small scale illegal drug use and possession (48%) compared with 29% of Sample A.

The majority of those that did not have a close friend or relative that regularly uses believed in prohibition of all activities related to illegal drugs in Australia (57%).

Looking at the results by voting intention, Coalition voters were by far the most likely to take the position of prohibition of all activities (62%).

Attitudes to decriminalization or legalization

Sep 17, 2012

Q. Thinking about the issue of illegal drugs in Australia, which has one of the highest per capita illicit drug use in the world, please indicate which position is closer to your view:

Sample B (N=501)

Total

 

Have a close friend or relative

(n=69)

No close friend or relative

(n=417)

Vote Labor

(n=159)

Vote Lib/Nat

(n=205)

Vote Greens

(n=40)

We should legalise all illegal drugs (including production and trafficking within Australia) to reduce the unregulated black market trade in these substances.

7%

12%

6%

10%

5%

13%

We should legalise small scale illegal drug use and possession, but maintain criminal prohibitions on production and trafficking.

30%

41%

26%

35%

22%

40%

We should prohibit all activities related to illegal drugs in Australia, including production, trafficking, large and small-scale production and use.

57%

 

45%

59%

50%

67%

30%

None of the above

7%

3%

8%

5%

6%

18%

The largest portion of those respondents with a close friend or relative that regularly uses believe in prohibiting all activities related to illegal drugs in Australia (45%), followed by legalizing small scale illegal drug use and possession (41%), however this difference may be on account of margin of error in the small sub-sample size.

Once again, Coalition voters were the most likely to take the view that ‘we should prohibit all activities related to illegal drugs in Australia…’ (67%) compared to the rest of the sample by voting intention.

Attitudes to decriminalization of specific drugs

Sep 17, 2012

Q. Would you support decriminalisation of any of the following illegal drugs in Australia:

Yes

No

Don’t know

Cannabis

38%

49%

13%

Ecstasy

14%

78%

7%

Cocaine

13%

80%

7%

Heroin

11%

83%

6%

Amphetamines (such as speed or ice)

10%

83%

7%

For all drugs except cannabis, the vast majority of respondents believed in maintaining prohibitions on the drug.

Support for decriminalisation of cannabis is the strongest at 38% in favour (49% opposed).

Respondents are most strongly against decriminalisation of heroin (83%) and amphetamines (83%).

Male respondents are more likely to favour decriminalisation of cannabis (42%) compared to females (35%).   They are also more likely to favour decriminalisation of ecstasy (17%) compared to female respondents (12%).

By voting intention, the majority of Greens voters were in favour of decriminalizing cannabis (56%).