Most Idahoans favor legalizing medical marijuana. They also want the state Legislature to abide by federal law so travelers can use state I.D.s to board airplanes. A large majority wants some sort of Medicaid expansion, either full federal Medicaid expansion or Gov. Butch Otter’s plan. And Idahoans also believe religion has too much power in the Idaho Legislature.
Those are just four of the findings in a new Idaho Politics Weekly survey.
The poll was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates with a scientific sample of 606 adults. The survey was conducted April 22-30 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.90 percent.
Perhaps the most surprising result is that 58 percent of Idahoans believe medical marijuana should be legalized, as long as prescribed by a properly licensed medical doctor.
Idaho’s neighbors, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, have legalized medical marijuana from some time. And recently Colorado legalized the general use of marijuana for adults.
Twenty-three states now have legal medical marijuana.
But Idaho lawmakers have refused to move in that direction.
Not surprisingly, Republicans oppose legalizing the drug, 43-56 percent.
But Democrats favor it, 75-21 percent, as do political independents, 66-31 percent.
The Idaho Legislature has GOP supermajorities, and Otter is a Republican as well.
You guessed it, Idahoans age 18-29 favor medical marijuana almost 2-to-1, 64-36 percent. But even those over 70 years old favor it, 52-44 percent, Jones found.
The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 sets out certain requirements for state-issued identifications – usually drivers’ licenses – if the state I.D. is to be accepted at federally-run programs.
Most importantly, the federal TSA – screening at airports – will start using all the REAL ID Act soon, probably next year.
But the Idaho Legislature has not adopted all of the requirements.
That means Idahoans may not be able to use their driver’s licenses to get on planes – a real inconvenience.
Idahoans told pollsters that lawmakers must stop messing around with the issue.
Seventy-two percent of Idahoans say the Legislature should comply with REAL ID and end the issue. Only 19 percent oppose REAL ID compliance, and 8 percent didn’t know.
Those who oppose REAL ID are likely a mix of Idahoans who don’t want the feds telling them what their state identifications must look like, and the black helicopter folks who believe the I.D.s will somehow be used to pick them out, take their guns or whatever.
In any case, even Idaho Republicans want the Legislature to act; they favor compliance, 73-19 percent.
Democrats favor compliance, 77-17 percent, independents want it, 75-16 percent.
Only members of “other” political parties – like right wing organizations, are hesitant. Still, they favor it, 54-37 percent.
Looks like even archconservatives want to get on airplanes.
Idaho, like a number of other Republican states, has balked at joining up for President Barack Obama’s Medicaid expansion – part of ObamaCare.
Otter put a plan before the 2015 Idaho Legislature that would take federal monies and set up a private-insurance health program for the 100,000 poorer Idahoans. But lawmakers refused to pass any Medicaid expansion.
The survey finds that:
-- 35 percent want to accept the full federal Medicaid expansion – where the feds pay 90 percent, then their share drops to 70 percent over time.
-- 33 percent said adopt the Otter private-insurance plan, using federal money.
-- 16 percent said do nothing on Medicaid expansion.
-- 3 percent mentioned doing something else.
-- And 13 percent didn’t know.
Finally, Jones asked whether Idahoans believe organized religions have too much influence in the Legislature, about the right amount, or too little influence.
Idaho is a mixed religion state, although southern Idaho has many Mormons – their ancestors sent to settle the area by Brigham Young in the mid-1800s.
In Eastern Idaho, for example, 39 percent of the residents said they are “very active” Mormons, Jones finds.
Anyway, Jones finds that 38 percent of Idahoans say religion has too much influence in the Legislature, 25 percent “about right” amount of influence, 28 percent too little influence, and 9 percent didn’t know.
Among “very active” Mormons, 7 percent said religion had too much influence in the Legislature, 41 percent said “about right,” and 45 percent said “too little” influence. Seven percent didn’t know.
Among Catholics, 43 percent said religion had too much influence, 33 percent of Protestants said that, 47 percent of folks who belong to “other” religions said that, while 72 percent of those who said they have no religion believe religion has too much influence in the Legislature.