Those numbers are all within a couple of points of the national average, said Joe Losco, a political scientist at the Bowen Center.
“On guns, Hoosiers aren’t as conservative as they’re made out to be,” he said.
Losco said it was the answers to the gun questions that surprised him and his colleagues the most. What didn’t surprise him were the answers to questions about marijuana.
Indiana has some of the toughest marijuana penalties in the nation. Under current Indiana law, possessing marijuana is a felony unless it’s a first-time offense or the amount is less than one ounce. Last year, when some rock-ribbed, law-and-order conservatives in the Legislature proposed decriminalizing pot possession — making it into infraction, like a speeding ticket — the idea seemed radical to their colleagues.
But maybe not to the public. This year’s Hoosier Survey found 53 percent of Indiana residents are ready to legalize pot. A whopping 78 percent support the idea of turning it into revenue stream for the state, taxing pot like cigarettes and alcohol.
“There was support for it across every demographic group and across both parties,” Losco said.
There may be a committee hearing or two on a marijuana decriminalization bill in the next session. Democratic State Sen. Karen Tallian, a 63-year-old grandmother for Portage, has pledged to file the bill and says she’s been promised a hearing.
She’s not expecting to see it become anyone’s legislative priority, though, given that the governor shut down talk of lowering pot possession penalties last year.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana, which includes The Goshen News She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden