A majority of those polled in a new Gallup survey say the U.S. is losing ground on illegal drugs.
The survey, released Friday, found that 52 percent of Americans said the country has lost ground in the fight against drugs, which Gallup said was a first since it began polling on the subject in 1972.
A record-low 24 percent said the nation has made progress in the fight, while 23 percent said things had stood still.
Just four years ago when Gallup conducted polling in 2019, 41 percent of those polled said progress was being made in the fight against drugs, while 30 percent said the country was losing ground.
Gallup suggested the shift was explained in part by rising drug overdose deaths, much of which is connected to fentanyl. GOP candidates at this week’s Republican president debate discussed what they see as a crisis related to the synthetic drug.
“Amid news of an alarming spike in the number of U.S. adults succumbing to overdoses of opioids and other dangerous drugs, Americans generally see little progress in addressing the illegal drug problem in the nation,” a Gallup analysis of the survey read.
“The public has never been more pessimistic than they are today, at least in the years Gallup has collected data on the matter,” the analysis continued.
Gallup noted that Republicans in particular see the nation as moving in the wrong direction in the fight against drugs. Its poll found 75 percent of Republicans saw the U.S. as losing ground in the drug fight.
In a stark contrast, more Democrats polled, at 40 percent, see the situation improving, while 27 percent said they thought it was getting worse.
Fifty-two percent of independents saw the situation as getting worse, compared to 22 percent who believe it is getting better.
The survey was conducted between Oct. 2 to 23, featuring responses from 1,009 U.S. adults. The margin of sampling error for the survey is plus or minus four percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
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