July 24th, 2014
11:55 AM ET
3 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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ WUP!
    Sneak posting at work is a trip and not quite the pleasurable, entertaining activity that posting is meant to be!

    July 24, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Minnie Mouse

    Raising the drinking age limit would be terrible. Are we looking for more health problems and accidents waiting to happen our highways to kill innocent people??? It's terrible when your grocery shopping and you have to tell your child that you can't buy the apple juice in the produce section that they really want, because it's really "Reds Apple Ale". If anything alcohol needs to be returned back home. Bars and liquor stores only and 100% removed from gas stations, dollar stores/convenient stores, super grocery stores and grocery stores.

    July 24, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Dominican mama 4 Obama says:
    July 24, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm
    @ 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!

    Great minds think alike!!😊😊😊

    I also agree with Tony D. I was about to post the same thing.

    July 24, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    sonny chapman

    Old enough to make a decision of life/death in Combat. Old enough to buy a beer.
    ----------------------------
    True enough. What about tobacco products? Why do we send our kids into combat, anyway?
    Most 18 year old bodies have not finished maturing, which makes most of them too young to drink.

    July 24, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    It's scary enough with teenagers driving and texting. I can't imagine legally adding alcohol to the mix. One mowed me down last summer texting, in broad daylight.

    July 24, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    So the question is.. ARE some of these kids old enough to make life/death decisions in combat?

    I actually like the idea of two year mandatory public service (although I don't think it necessarily has to be military...)

    July 24, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Nope. I'm sorry, but lowering the age to 18 as some sort of a prize for being able to enlist or vote is not a good idea.

    July 24, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Much thunder...little rain

    Stupid idea

    July 24, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    sonny chapman

    Old enough to make a decision of life/death in Combat. Old enough to buy a beer.
    ----------
    True enough. What about tobacco products? Why do we send our kids into combat, anyway?
    Most 18 year old bodies have not finished maturing, which makes most of them too young to drink.
    ---------–
    When we are sending flying and marching drones into battle, should we let the drones drink?

    July 24, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. 2_indy1600

    @They Ought to Change from the Elephant to the Hippo: I actually like the idea of two year mandatory public service (althought I don't think it necessarily has to be the military...)

    Absolutely agreed, better idea than limiting service to military. Thanks.

    July 24, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    So the question is.. ARE some of these kids old enough to make life/death decisions in combat?

    I actually like the idea of two year mandatory public service (although I don't think it necessarily has to be military...)
    -------------------------------------
    The old Soviet Union used to do exactly that. Everyone was required to serve the state in one form or another.

    July 24, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    The Real Tom Paine

    Nope. I'm sorry, but lowering the age to 18 as some sort of a prize for being able to enlist or vote is not a good idea.
    -----------------------------
    Psst, don't let this get out. Between you and me, I think someone is looking for a ballot initiative to induce young voters into coming out to the polls this year. A lower the drinking age referendum might be a winner with young voters, most especially the college crowd.

    July 24, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. andy k

    Just look at one thing. You can take a bullet for your country but you cant have a beer!!!!

    July 24, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. definitely

    Sure why not, we are making more druggies by legalizing weed and promoting a life of dependency so why not have more drunks on the road to kill more innocent people with drunk driving and while you are on a roll legalize meth and cocaine. Then maybe later you can include heroin and morphine and after dumbing down the population we will be ready to vote Democratic again.

    July 24, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    "When we are sending flying and marching drones into battle, should we let the drones drink?"
    ----------------------–
    Negative. We do not need an intoxicated or hung over military.

    July 24, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mallory Archer
    Was so hoping you'd respond to my hastily worded question.
    I can't dig around on the internet as often as I'd like where I post from.

    July 24, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC
    . A lower the drinking age referendum might be a winner with young voters, most especially the college crowd.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Hmmm... that might pan out to be an effective young voter outreach program.

    July 24, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    andy k
    Just look at one thing. You can take a bullet for your country but you cant have a beer!!!!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    I don't know how it works in the states, but alcohol-selling establishments on American military installations overseas are permitted to sell/serve alcohol to servicemembers who haven't reached the age of 21.

    July 24, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Malory Archer

    definitely
    Sure why not, we are making more druggies by legalizing weed...

    ++++++++++++++++

    I know quite a few people who use "weed", and every single one of them is gainfully employed. Can't say the same for a few of the alcoholics I know.

    July 24, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    definitely says:
    July 24, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm
    Sure why not, we are making more druggies by legalizing weed and promoting a life of dependency so why not have more drunks on the road to kill more innocent people with drunk driving

    Weed is nothing like heroin, cocaine or meth. It's a plant. But sure let's keep criminalizing people for smoking pot. Suburban teens here in MI were determined to smoke something so they turned to something that was legally sold in stores called K2 or spice, basically it was like potpourri. The anti weed crowd began referring to it as synthetic weed, which was wrong because the effects of weed and K2 were vastly different. For example weed makes you giddy, hungry and sometimes sleepy. K2 makes you crazy. Two incidents here in MI come to mind. Two young men went to one of their families homes and beat the father to death, the mother and brother half to death. Another teen was smoking K2 and attacked his grandmother who proceeded to blow him away. Trying to stop young people from smoking pot is not going to happen, all that's going to happen are more instances like these. Btw, they went through all the suburban stores and banned the K2. One of the ladies I work with asked me was it in my area and I told her no. There's no way a black teen is going to pay $15 to smoke potpourri when they can spend $5 and get the real thing. Now that K2 is banned, suburban kids are now doing more heroin than ever. That's another thing urban kids don't do. But yes keep classifying weed the same as hard drugs....

    July 24, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. salty dog

    Glad it was 21 when I was young, can only imagine how much more I would have drank.

    July 24, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. smith

    @Malory-In the states its 21 and overseas its the country`s legal age of drinking. In a combat zone alcohol is forbidden.

    July 24, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Say WHAT???

    Rudy NYC
    The old Soviet Union used to do exactly that. Everyone was required to serve the state in one form or another.
    ---

    The government owns your paycheck and you get what is left and now they dictate your healthcare. Control what you can drink, eat, smoke, take for meds, see and hear on radio and TV. We are almost right where you are warning people about. That's what over 200 years worth of government laws, federal, state, local gets you. Sorry, you are already very much a government owned slave.

    July 24, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    For example weed makes you giddy, hungry and sometimes sleepy. K2 makes you crazy.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Imagine how many 7-Elevens owe their very existence to potheads and the occasional tokers.
    Gotta admit I never heard of K2.
    That crap sounds almost as bad as the cannibalistic effects of "bath salts".
    Cocaine, btw, aslo starts out as a plant, as does heroin.

    July 24, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Say WHAT???

    Rudy NYC
    The old Soviet Union used to do exactly that. Everyone was required to serve the state in one form or another.
    -

    The government owns your paycheck and you get what is left and now they dictate your healthcare. Control what you can drink, eat, smoke, take for meds, see and hear on radio and TV. We are almost right where you are warning people about. That's what over 200 years worth of government laws, federal, state, local gets you. Sorry, you are already very much a government owned slave
    -----------------------
    Uh, it was someone from your side of the room that made the original suggestion of mandatory government service. Take it up with them. I'm obviously against the idea. You can see that I'm against it, right? Didn't think so. Blinded by anger, this one is.

    July 24, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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