Opinion Polls/Surveys
1967 - Nov. 4, 2008


A. City of San Francisco, California: Nov. 4, 2008
H. Louis Harris and Associates: 1990
B. City of Berkeley, California: Nov. 2, 2004 I. Field Institute: Mar. 1983
C. Churchill County, Nevada: Nov. 2, 2004 J. Louis Harris and Associates: 1978
D. Magellan Research: Oct. 24-28, 2003 K. Louis Harris and Associates: 1976
E. Research 2000: Sep. 2002 L. Louis Harris and Associates: 1971
F. Montana State University: Oct. 22-25, 1998 M. Louis Harris and Associates: 1969
G. Social Science Research Center: 1995 N. Louis Harris and Associates: 1967

A. City of San Francisco, California: Nov. 4, 2008
  • 211,648 total votes
Ballot Measure K: Enforcement of Laws Related to Prostitution and Sex Workers - "Shall the City: stop enforcing laws against prostitution; stop funding or supporting the First Offender Prostitution Program or any similar anti-prostitution program; enforce existing criminal laws that prohibit crimes such as battery, extortion and rape, regardless of the victim's status as a sex worker; and fully disclose the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against sex workers?"
  • Support: 42.44%
  • Oppose: 57.56%



B. City of Berkeley, California: Nov. 2, 2004
  • 50,741 total votes
Ballot Measure Q: Enforcement of State Prostitution Laws (Angel's Initiative) - "Shall an ordinance be adopted to: 1) make enforcement of prostitution laws the lowest priority; 2) oppose state laws making prostitution a crime; and 3) require semi-annual reporting of prostitution-related Berkeley Police Department law enforcement activities?"
  • Support: 36.49%
  • Oppose: 63.51%
(Source: City of Berkeley 2004 Election Results (PDF) 204KB, Nov. 2, 2004)



C. Churchill County, Nevada: Nov. 2, 2004
  • 10,037 total votes
"CHURCHILL COUNTY - QUESTION NO. 3: Shall Chapter 5.20 of the Churchill County Code be repealed in order to end legalized prostitution in Churchill County?"
  • Yes: 36.33%
  • No: 62.78%
(Source: County of Churchill 2004 Election Results (PDF) 19KB, Nov. 2, 2004)



D. Magellan Research: Oct. 24-28, 2003
  • Sample: 601 Nevadans
  • Margin of Error: +/-4%
"Do you support the legalization of prostitution in a limited area of downtown Las Vegas?"
  • Yes: 35%
  • No: 59%
  • Don't Know: 6%
(Source: Magellan Research , Oct. 24-28, 2003)



E. Research 2000: Sep. 2002
  • Sample: 600+ Nevadans
  • Margin of Error: +/-4%
Ban legal brothels?
  • Support legal brothels: 52%
  • Oppose legal brothels: 31%
  • No opinion/undecided: 17%
(Source: Research 2000 , Sep. 2002)



F. Montana State University at Billings: Oct. 22-25, 1998
  • Sample: 402 likely Montana voters
  • Margin of Error: +/-5%
Montana opinions on the legalization of prostitution
  • Support: 18.4%
  • Oppose: 73.1%
  • Undecided: 8.5%
(Source: Montana State University at Billings , Oct. 22-25, 1998)



G. Social Science Research Center: 1995
  • Sample: 1,436 adults nationwide
  • Margin of Error: Not available
"Although some are currently legal, please tell me which of the following you think should be legal: -- Prostitution?"
Demographic
Pro Legal Prostitution (%)
Con Legal Prostitution (%)
Total
19
81
Gender(sample: 1,413)
Male
26
74
Female
13
87
Marital Status(sample: 1,421)
Single
24
76
Married
15
85
Age(sample: 1,411)
18-24
8
92
25-34
18
82
35-44
22
78
45-54
24
76
55-64
19
81
65-74
13
87
75 and over
17
83
Race(sample: 1,415)
White
20
80
Non-white
11
89
US Census Region(sample: 1,436)
Northeast
21
79
Midwest
17
83
South
15
85
West
27
73
Residence Population(sample: 1,398)
Farm
11
89
Rural nonfarm
12
88
Less than 2,500
10
90
2,500-10,000
13
87
10,000-50,000
20
80
50,000-100,000
24
76
Over 100,000
27
73
Protestants and Catholics(sample: 1,092)
Protestant
13
87
Catholic
22
78
Political Party(sample: 1,151)
Democrat
19
81
Republican
17
83
Independent
23
77
Education(sample: 1,411)
Less than high school graduate
9
91
High school graduate
15
85
Some college
17
83
College graduate or higher
26
74
Income(sample: 1,114)
Less than $10,000
13
87
$10,000-20,000
13
87
$20,000-30,000
23
77
$30,000-40,000
18
82
$40,000-50,000
21
79
$50,000-60,000
23
77
$60,000-70,000
21
79
$70,000-80,000
30
70
$80,000+
28
72
Demographic
Pro Legal Prostitution (%)
Con Legal Prostitution (%)
(Source: Social Science Research Center , 1995)
[ProCon.org received the raw data from David May, Ph.D. who used it for the article "Tolerance of nonconformity and its effect on attitudes toward the legalization of prostitution: A multivariate analysis" in the Oct. 1999 Deviant Behavior. ProCon.org tallied the data, removed the null results from sub-samples, and then rounded to the closest whole number on the percentages.]



H. Louis Harris and Associates: 1990
  • Sample: 2,245 nationwide
  • Margin of Error: Not available
"I will read you some activities that some people feel are matters of private choice or consent that ought to be left to the individual, that other people feel should be regulated by law, and others feel should be forbidden by law altogether. Please tell me, for each one, how you feel that activity should be treated -- should it be left to the individual, should it be allowed but regulated by law, or should it be totally forbidden by law? -- Engaging in prostitution"
  • Left To The Individual: 23%
  • Allowed But Regulated By Law: 33%
  • Totally Forbidden By Law: 44%
  • Not Sure: under 1%



I. Field Institute: Mar. 1983
  • Sample: 750 Californians
  • Margin of Error: Not available
"I'd like you to tell me whether you think each idea is a good idea or a poor idea? Legalize prostitution to provide more tax revenues and help control the disease and crime that now result from uncontrolled prostitution."
  • Good idea: 41%
  • Bad idea: 54%
  • No opinion: 5%
(Source: Field Institute , Mar. 1983)



J. Louis Harris and Associates: 1978
  • Sample: 2,126 nationwide
  • Margin of Error: Not available
"I will read you some activities that some people feel are matters of private choice or consent that ought to be left to the individual, other people feel should be regulated by law, and others feel should be forbidden by law altogether. As I read each activity, please tell me which of the phrases on this card describes how you feel that activity should be treated -- should it be left to the individual, should it be allowed, but regulated by law, or should it be totally forbidden by law? -- Engaging in prostitution"
  • Left To The Individual: 35%
  • Allowed But Regulated By Law: 30%
  • Totally Forbidden By Law: 32%
  • Not Sure: 3%



K. Louis Harris and Associates: 1976
  • Sample: 197 nationwide
  • Margin of Error: Not available
"There are a number of different ways that adults convicted of crimes can be dealt with. 1.) They may be put on probation -- not having to serve time in a prison but having to see a probation officer on a regular basis, 2.) they may be given a short prison sentence and then released on parole but required to see a parole officer regularly, or 3.) they may be given a long prison sentence. For each of the following types of adults convicted of a crime, I'd like you to tell me which choice would be best -- probation, a short sentence with parole or a long sentence. -- A woman convicted of prostitution"
  • Probation: 20%
  • Short Sentence With Parole: 41%
  • Long Sentence: 23%
  • Not Sure: 16%



L. Louis Harris and Associates: 1971
  • Sample: 142 Utahns
  • Margin of Error: Not available
"Do you feel that individuals found to be involved in (crime) should be required to accept some kind of treatment -- for example, medical or psychological treatment -- or should treatment be offered but not required, or do you feel no treatment is necessary? - A woman convicted of prostitution"
  • Treatment required: 32%
  • Treatment offered: 16%
  • No treatment necessary: 42%
  • Not Sure: 10%

  • Sample: 1,124 Utahns
  • Margin of Error: Not available
"I'd like you to take this sheet, which lists a number of different crimes. Alongside, each crime are the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4. '1' stands for a very serious crime, '2' for a fairly serious crime, '3' for an only slightly serious crime, and '4' for an act which should not really be considered a crime at all. Please circle a number which represents just how serious you feel each crime is. - Prostitution"
  • 1 - Very serious crime: 41%
  • 2 - Fairly serious crime: 25%
  • 3 - Slightly serious crime: 20%
  • 4 - Not really a crime: 14%



M. Louis Harris and Associates: 1969
  • Sample: 1,570 nationwide
  • Margin of Error: Not available
"Now let me ask you which, in your personal judgment, is worse, if you could only choose ONE?"
  • A factory that evades anti-pollution laws: 45%
  • A house of prostitution: 41%
  • Not sure: 14%



N. Louis Harris and Associates: 1967
  • Sample: 924 nationwide
  • Margin of Error: Not available
"There are a number of different ways that adults convicted of crimes can be dealt with. 1.) They may be put on probation -- not having to serve time in a prison but having to see a probation officer on a regular basis, 2.) they may be given a short prison sentence and then released on parole but required to see a parole officer regularly, or 3.) they may be given a long prison sentence. For each of the following types of adults convicted of a crime, I'd like you to tell me which choice would be best -- probation, a short sentence with parole or a long sentence. -- A woman convicted of prostitution"
  • Probation: 27%
  • Short Sentence With Parole: 36%
  • Long Sentence: 23%
  • Not sure: 14%