July 24th, 2014
11:55 AM ET
2 months ago

Do you want the drinking age lowered?

(CNN) - When it comes to the drinking age, the vast majority of Americans don't want to go back to the future.

Thirty years after 21 became the minimum age to drink alcohol in all 50 states, a new national poll indicates that nearly three-quarters of the public opposes lowering the age to 18.

According to a Gallup survey released Thursday, 74% say they would oppose a bill to lower the drinking age, with one in four saying they'd support such a move. The level of opposition is similar to what Gallup measured in polls conducted in 2001 and 2007.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed into law a measure that withheld some federal highway funds from states that didn't have 21 as their minimum drinking age. One of the major aims of the law was to reduce the number of auto deaths involving young adults under the influence of alcohol. A Gallup poll at the time indicated that 79% of Americans supported raising the drinking age to 21.

Arguments for and against lowering the drinking age in the U.S.

While there is widespread opposition in the new poll to lowering the drinking age, there are some interesting divides. The poll suggests a gap when it comes to ideology. Thirty-four percent of liberals support lowering the age, compared to just 18% of conservatives.

And there's an educational divide, with 37% of those with post-graduate degrees, but just 21% with a high school education or less, saying they favor lowering the drinking age.

More predictably, 35% of those who say they drink weekly support a lower age. Just 18% of those who say the don't drink alcohol want to see the age lowered.

The Gallup poll was conducted July 7-10, with 1,013 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.


Filed under: Poll
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. it must be said

    Thanks to our failed liberal union controlled school systems, kids are getting dumber, not smarter. Raise it to 26, the new age of 'kids' that can still be mooching off their parents for healthcare.

    July 24, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Thomas

    you can vote at 18 , fight for your country , so why not hang out on Facebook and have a few cosmopolitans with strangers at a bar ?

    July 24, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Anyone who's attended college would be quick to tell you that lowering the drinking age would a disaster. NO.

    July 24, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    If you're going to trust an 18-year-old to put his or her lifve on the line in the military... if you're going to trust an 18-year-old with something as sacred as the right to vote...

    July 24, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. just asking

    yeah sure lower it to 18... what could possibly go wrong with a drunk 18 year old behind the wheel yapping on their cell phone or worse, texting. are all of the people supporting this undertakers? don't we already have our hands full with the new stoned drivers?

    July 24, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. O'drama ya Mama

    I'm 25 years old and I dont want the drinking age lowered. Although it is difficult for those between 18 and 21 to find a place to go or hang out I still dont think it should be lowered. Its bad enough going to clubs that are 18 and up and seeing a bunch of drug teenagers(because thats what they are) making a mockery of themselves. This is coming from someone who considers himself to be liberal.

    July 24, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    -do they want USA to be drunkards? Smokers? God only save this nation.

    July 24, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    My answer remains: No.

    July 24, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I don't support it. 21 is fine. Though there's talk around MI of raising the legal drinking age to 25. We've had a lot of accidents involving young people and drinking and driving.

    July 24, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. smith

    Keep alcohol at 21 and raise tobacco to 21.

    July 24, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. O'drama ya Mama

    Rudy NYC

    Anyone who's attended college would be quick to tell you that lowering the drinking age would a disaster. NO.
    July 24, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Couldn't agree more. Thats basically what I was getting at in my post which btw I accidentally said "drug teenagers" instead of "drunk teenagers".

    July 24, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. stormchaser 101

    Back in the day 18 to 21 year olds could only drink 3.2 percent beer no strong spirits.Reagan with his pen turned this. Age group into law breakers.Good old lock um up Ronnie.Give them all a criminal record.Nothing to be proud of here.

    July 24, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Marty

    The drinking age is like Congress, irrelevant. You can make it whatever you want and you'll have underage drinking.

    July 24, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Wake Up!
    Speaking of drinking...your after-work "margarita +" post had me in sympathetic stitches (wink)!!!
    And that is all I have to say about that!

    July 24, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Tony D

    Fair is Fair
    If you're going to trust an 18-year-old to put his or her lifve on the line in the military... if you're going to trust an 18-year-old with something as sacred as the right to vote...
    --

    I'd rather see the ages raised on these to 21 instead of lowering drinking to 18. It is painful whenever I see the name of a 19 year old soldier that was killed.

    July 24, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Gurgyl

    -do they want USA to be drunkards? Smokers? God only save this nation
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Gurgyl, Gurgyl, Gurgyl.....smh

    July 24, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Malory Archer

    I support lowering the drinking age to 18 if the legal age for driving is increased to at least 21.

    July 24, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Wes

    Drinking age at 18 would be a disaster.

    July 24, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. 2_indy1600

    Don't raise the drinking age, raise the voting age. Throw in a mandatory 3-year stint in miilitary as well, and the country will be back on track.

    July 24, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Dean

    If 'kids' can stay on their parents insurance plan until age 26, then let's raise the age to 26...in all 57 states.

    July 24, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'd rather see the ages raised on these to 21 instead of lowering drinking to 18.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    I actually agree with you on this Tony D.

    July 24, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    2_indy1600

    Don't raise the drinking age, raise the voting age. Throw in a mandatory 3-year stint in miilitary as well, and the country will be back on track.
    -----------------------–
    Let's pretend that we're the old Soviet Union and require that everyone serve in the army.

    July 24, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Malory Archer

    I support lowering the drinking age to 18 if the legal age for driving is increased to at least 21.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Who are the biggest culprits behind drunk-driving accidents Mallory? Is it in fact people under the age of 18 or is it old and not so old drunks?
    I always felt that teens were more likely to have accidents due to texting, lack of driving experience and just not paying attention in general.
    Although I can see how combining those factors with legalized driniking could up the statistic.

    July 24, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Rick McDaniel

    No........I want the minimum age raised for almost everything. 18 yr. olds are not mature enough in today's world to grant them adulthood, the right to vote, or the right to drink alcohol. All need to be put back to 21. No one should be allowed to serve in the military until they are 21, either, because they aren't adult enough to assume that responsibility.

    That is like turning brainless kids lose on the public.

    July 24, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. sonny chapman

    Old enough to make a decision of life/death in Combat. Old enough to buy a beer.

    July 24, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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