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issues_alcohol
(08/04/07) -

Americans Reject Lowering Drinking Age

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in the United States are against changing the current minimum age in which a person can start to drink alcohol, according to a poll by Gallup released by USA Today. 77 per cent of respondents would oppose introducing a federal law that would lower the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 years.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in the United States are against changing the current minimum age in which a person can start to drink alcohol, according to a poll by Gallup released by USA Today. 77 per cent of respondents would oppose introducing a federal law that would lower the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 years.

In 1984, the U.S. Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. The bill—signed into law by U.S. president Ronald Reagan—established a minimum age of 21 years for the purchase or possession of alcoholic beverages in every American state. 60 per cent of respondents believe the penalties for underage drinking should be stricter than they are now.

John McCardell, president emeritus of Middlebury College in Vermont, is one of the leaders of a campaign to lower the drinking age to 18. Last month, McCardell said an epidemic of underage and binge drinking demonstrates that the current approach is incorrect, adding, “All you’re doing is driving (drinking) off campus or underground. You’re not ending it. You’re sending it to much less safe environments.”

Polling Data

(Half Sample) – Would you favour or oppose a federal law that would lower the drinking age in all states to 18?

Jul. 2007

Jul. 2001

Favour

22%

21%

Oppose

77%

77%

No opinion

1%

2%

(Half Sample) – Do you think the penalties for underage age drinking should be made more strict, less strict, or remain as they are now?

Jul. 2007

Jul. 2001

More strict

60%

60%

Less strict

6%

6%

Remain as now

31%

33%

No opinion

3%

1%

Source: Gallup / USA Today
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,001 American adults, conducted from Jul. 12 to Jul. 15, 2007. Margin of error is 3 per cent.