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Analysis of Chamberlain Research Consultants Survey of Wisconsinites support for state medicinal marijuana legislation

Tuesday, March 12, 2002 
By Gary Storck, director of communications, Is My Medicine Legal YET? ( 

It had long been suspected that a scientific poll of Wisconsin residents views on the issue of medicinal marijuana would yield results similar to scientific polls conducted nationally and in other U.S. locations, where the issue has consistently shown strong support, but state supporters had been unable to come up with the necessary funding to confirm this.

In early 2002, the group, "Is My Medicine Legal YET?" ( and other Wisconsin medical marijuana advocates raised the funds and commissioned a question in the quarterly Wisconsin Trends survey, a scientific sampling conducted by Chamberlain Research Consultants of Madison Wisconsin. In the Wisconsin Trends survey, Chamberlain polls 600 people over 18 in all 72 counties of the state. The margin of error is +/- 3.97%.

The question asked was, "Would you support or oppose the Wisconsin State Legislature passing a law to allow seriously ill or terminally ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician?"

The poll found that statewide, 80.3 of respondents answered yes, 16% answered no, and 3.7% don't know/refused.

The survey also broke down the results by a number of other factors; region, media market, congressional district, voting habits, voting preference, age, marital status, children at home, own or rent, education, occupation, internet access, racial background, annual household income, and gender. (See Raw Data for details. Raw data can be downloaded in PDF form at


Chamberlain Research breaks Wisconsin into 8 regions, Extreme South East, Fox Valley, Madison, North West, Milwaukee, North East, South West and South East. Raw data gives the breakdown on which counties make up each region.

The Madison region, made up of Dane County, an area known for progressive thinking, was no surprise with 91.7% responding yes and only 6.3% no. But the question found very strong support, with 6 of the other 7 regions reporting affirmative responses from 79.6% in the Fox Valley to 81.9% in Milwaukee. The 8th region, North West, came in with a still very respectable 70.7%.


When the results were examined by media market, they again demonstrated the depth of support across the state. Chamberlain lists 7 media markets for the survey; La Crosse/Eau Claire, Wausau/Rhinelander, Green Bay/Appleton, Madison, Milwaukee, Duluth/Superior and Minneapolis/St. Paul. The counties making up each media market appear in the Raw Data, which can be downloaded in PDF form at

The ten county Madison media market once again led with 88.4% of respondents answering yes. A surprising second was the Wausau/Rhinelander media market with 85.5% answering yes, and only 10.9% answering no. The La Crosse/Eau Claire media market was third with 80.4& answering yes, followed by Milwaukee with 79.8%. Green Bay/Appleton followed with 77.5% support. Duluth/Superior and Minneapolis/St. Paul rated the lowest, at 71.4% and 64.3% respectively, still showing strong support in areas not known as liberal bastions. It should also be noted these two areas results were derived from small samples of 14 and 28 respondents, respectively.


When the results are examined by congressional district, they once again illustrate the disconnect between Wisconsinites and their elected representatives. In the First District, currently represented by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), 81.5% answered yes. In the Second District, represented by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison), currently the sole supporter of medicinal marijuana among the Wisconsin congressional delegation, and a cosponsor of the federal medical marijuana bill HR 2592, 87.1% of respondents answered yes.

In the Third District, represented by Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse), 3 of 4 respondents, or 75.0% answered yes. In the Fourth and Fifth Districts, combined by Chamberlain for this survey most likely because pending redistricting will eliminate a Milwaukee-area congressional seat, the number was 81.9%. Like the rest of the Wisconsin delegation outside of Rep. Baldwin, neither of the current representatives Tom Barrett (D-Milwaukee) a candidate for governor, or Gerald Kleczka (D-Milwaukee), has expressed any support for this issue to date.

In Rep. Tom Petri's (R-Fond du Lac) Sixth District, 81.5% answered yes, with the same percentage answering yes in Rep. David Obey's (D-Wausau) Seventh District. In the Eighth District, currently represented by Mark Green (R-Green Bay), the number was 80.8%.

In the Ninth District, long represented by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, who has consistently opposed allowing patients legal access to medical marijuana, 74.2% answered yes, nearly 3 of 4 respondents. 


When the results were examined by respondents voting habits, 75.9% of those saying they voted in every election answered yes. Those who said they voted in almost every election supported the issue at 82.9%. Those identifying themselves as voting in major races expressed 83.1%. The small number (28) of respondents who stated they don't usually vote expressed 80% support. With the bulk of the sample reporting that they vote and support medicinal marijuana, this issue will undoubtedly come up in this election year.


Another key factor is Voting Preference, which shows that medicinal marijuana is not a partisan issue as some politicos continue to paint it.

Of those who said they voted Democrat, 84.2% answered yes. Those who said they voted same for each party, 79.7% answered yes. Among those saying they voted Republican, the number was 78.2%, a number not that different from the Democrat number when the survey's +/- 3.97% margin of error is factored in. 88.9% of the 8 respondents who said they voted other party also answered yes.


The breakdown by age also showed strong support. The numbers by age group were as follows: 18-24 -- 91.1%, 25-34 - 76.8%, 35-44 - 79.8%, 45-54 - 86.0%, 55-64 - 76.6%, and 65+ -- 75.2%.


Those identifying themselves as single expressed 83.8% support, and as married, 78.5%. 


Those with children at home expressed 75.5% support and without children at home, 83.1%.


86.2% of homeowners, representing about 75% of the total sample, answered yes, and 80.0% of renters answered yes.


When examined by education, support was again strong in all categories; less than high school -- 75.8%, high school grads -- 81.0%, some college -- 82.2%, college degree -- 78.6% and post grad -- 79.2%.


In examining results by occupation, support was once again strong across the board. Those identifying themselves as professional answered yes at 80.3%, as blue collar, 80.1%, as white collar, 90.2%, retired, 72.6%, students, 90.0%, unemployed, 80%, supervisor, 90% and finally, those in the miscellaneous category, 66.7%.


Those with Internet access at home expressed 79.1% support, at work, 88.5%, both, 84.9%, and neither, at 74.1%.


This category was divided into Caucasian or Non-Caucasian, at 81.1% and 72.5% respectively, with 51 respondents identifying themselves as Non-Caucasians


Support was fairly evenly distributed in this category. 76.4% of those reporting their income was under $20K annually answered yes. Those reporting $20-36K showed 75.9% support, $36-51K at 82.1%, $51-76K, 83.6%, $76K-100K, 87.5% and over $100K, 83.0%


The final category was gender with 78.5% of males and 82.1% of females answering yes, a difference close to the margin of error of +/-3.97%.


With 80.3% of respondents indicating they would like the legislature to pass a medicinal marijuana bill, this poll demonstrates a depth of support for medicinal marijuana that exceeds most of the national and state surveys conducted in the past, as well as the expectations of the Wisconsin medical marijuana advocates who commissioned and funded this survey. These numbers indicate that a clear majority of Wisconsinites support the legislature passing a medical marijuana bill. 

With even the lowest numbers showing strong support, these results send a strong message that Wisconsinites see medical marijuana as a matter of compassion and public health, not criminal justice or partisan politics. The results say that giving patients legal access to medical marijuana is an issue that is not liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, or geographical, as some politicos have suggested. And these results show people who vote support medical marijuana, a significant factor in this election year, with the entire state assembly, half the state senate, the governor and attorney general's office, as well as all soon to be 8 congressional representatives all up for election in 2002.

In conclusion, the results of this scientific poll say that by a wide majority, in every category, the people of Wisconsin overwhelmingly support the Wisconsin State Legislature passing a law to allow seriously ill or terminally ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician. 

Updated Monday, August 08, 2011


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