Bill O'Reilly's audience usually shares his conservative views, as seen in the regular opinion polls on his website. But in a new poll asking opinions on marijuana legalization, marijuana advocacy groups led a surge of voting that skewed the outcome highly in favor of weed, dropping a big ad for legalization right on the rigid anti-pot pundit's personal website.
Tipping the scales. The poll's early results reflected O'Reilly's usual views, with 81% against legalization. That all changed when NORML, the country's leading legalization advocacy group, caught wind of it and posted a message on their Facebook page encouraging people to vote for legalization on O'Reilly's poll. As a result, an astounding 91% of 64,366 users voted in favor of legalizing marijuana and regulating it like alcohol. A January poll on the same website asking a similar question resulted in 76% of 51,529 users for legal weed in the U.S.
This is a clear departure from the usual pattern that emerges in O'Reilly's polls. The right-leaning results of his many voluntary online polls tell the same conservative story over and over, sometimes in response to very weird questions.
BillOReilly.com posted a second marijuana legalization opinion poll on July 30th, perhaps after finding that the first one had clearly been taken over by pro-marijuana users. At the time of this article, it stands at 65% for legalization and 35% against.
Legal pot might also be a conservative value: This hacked poll came out just as O'Reilly reiterated his staunchly prohibitionist position in a Fox News article railing against the New York Times' endorsement of federal marijuana legalization. However, a poll at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) found that 62% of conservatives favor some form of legalization: 41% for recreational and 21% for medical. Some Republicans, such as U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, oppose the federal regulation of marijuana on personal freedom grounds. Commentators like O'Reilly may keep trying to demonize this issue, but public opinion is shifting towards legalization among liberals, conservatives and everyone in between.