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Public opinion on alcohol policies

In: Journal of Public Health Policy, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1990, p. 189-205; DOI: 10.2307/3342751

Authors: Alexander C. Wagenaar, Frederick M. Streff

We conducted a survey of a probability sample of adult residents in the State of Michigan, assessed public support for various alcohol and drinking-driving policy changes, examined how opinions on various policies clustered, and compared Michigan results with national surveys on these issues. Results showed high levels of public support for raising alcohol excise taxes (82 %), prohibiting concurrent sales of alcohol and gasoline (74 %), administratively suspending drivers licenses of those over the legal alcohol limit (67 %), limiting the numbers of alcohol outlets via government regulation (63 %), and lowering the legal alcohol limit for drivers to .05 g/dl (55 %). Support for these policies was found across all income and education categories, but was significantly lower among frequent heavy drinkers. Policies with lower levels of public support include liability of commercial servers and social hosts, and stricter limits on hours of alcohol sales. Results are clearly relevant to current policy debates, and point to the need for further research on how opinions concerning alcohol policies are interrelated.