National Survey Finds Broad Support for Today’s System of Alcohol Regulations

Center for Alcohol Policy Releases Survey Results on Public Attitudes on Alcohol Policy

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Americans want to keep in place state and local alcohol regulations to keep them safe, according to a new bipartisan national poll conducted for the Center for Alcohol Policy (CAP).

“Americans overwhelmingly agree that alcohol is a unique product that is not like other consumer goods, which is why they believe it needs to be treated differently,” said Patrick Lynch, former Rhode Island Attorney General, former president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and current member of the CAP Advisory Council. “This national survey also shows that people think it’s important that decisions about alcohol are made at the local level by people who know the community.”

Survey findings include:

Americans do not think alcohol is just like other consumer products, and they support state restrictions on alcohol that are not found on other consumer goods. 

  • 72% believe states should regulate alcohol because it is different from other consumer goods.
  • 79% believe that alcohol is NOT just like toilet paper and tin foil.
  • 78% support the current drinking age of 21 or older.

Americans believe that local businesses that understand the local community should manage local alcohol distribution and sales.

  • 81% support the rights of states to determine their own laws and regulations regarding the sale of alcohol.
  • 76% support the rights of individual states to regulate the manufacture, sale and distribution of alcohol.
  • 74% believe that local businesses should be in charge of alcohol distribution in the local community because they understand local preferences.

Americans do not want to replicate the United Kingdom’s disastrous experience with alcohol deregulation. 

  • 72% agree that the U.S. should not follow the UK and remove alcohol regulation.

The United Kingdom’s high rates of youth intoxication; increasing cases of liver disease; and a rise in alcohol-fueled violence and public disorder have been well documented by the news media.  Prime Minister David Cameron has called binge drinking a major issue: “The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities. My message is simple. We can’t go on like this. We have to tackle the scourge of violence caused by binge drinking. And we have to do it now.”

The national telephone survey of 1,010 adults over 21 and was conducted by a bipartisan team of pollsters, Whitman Insight Strategies and Wilson Research Strategies, on behalf of the Center for Alcohol Policy from July 22-24, 2012.  The margin of error is +/- 3.1%.


The Center for Alcohol Policy is a 501c(3) organization whose mission is to educate policy makers, regulators and the public about alcohol, its uniqueness and regulation. By conducting sound and scientific-based research and implementing initiatives that will maintain the appropriate state-based regulation of alcohol, the Center promotes safe and responsible consumption, fights underage drinking and drunk driving and informs key entities about the effects of alcohol consumption. For more information, visit or follow the Center on Twitter at


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Center for Alcohol Policy
277 S. Washington Street Suite 500-A Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 519-3090