October 13, 2010 - Connecticut Voters Back Death For Cheshire Killer 4-1, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; More Back Death Penalty Than Life Without Parole

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By a 76 - 18 percent margin, Connecticut voters favor the death penalty for the convicted Cheshire home invasion murderer, compared to their 65 - 23 percent support for the death penalty in general, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Prior to the Cheshire murders, surveys by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University showed support for the death penalty in Connecticut hovered at about 60 percent.

In today's survey, 12 percent are undecided on the death penalty in general. The measure wins 80 - 12 support from Republicans, 52 - 37 percent support from Democrats and 68 - 18 support from independent voters.

Men back the death penalty 69 - 24 percent while women back it 62 - 22 percent.

In the specific Cheshire murder case, women back the death penalty 74 - 17 percent while men back it 78 - 19 percent.

Only 6 percent of Connecticut voters would base their vote for governor solely on a candidate's position on the death penalty, while 91 percent would "consider other things" before deciding on a candidate.

"Similar to what we found in the Michael Ross case, support for the death penalty in a specific case can be higher than support in general. This is because some voters who oppose the death penalty in general support it for a particularly heinous crime," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD.

"Very few voters are making the death penalty the deciding issue in the race for governor," Dr. Schwartz added.

Offered a choice of the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole, 46 percent of voters choose the death penalty while 41 percent prefer life in prison.

Deciding how to apply the death penalty, Connecticut voter opinions are:
  • 7 percent say all people convicted of murder should be sentenced to death;
  • 14 percent say no one should get the death penalty;
  • 78 percent say the death penalty should depend on the circumstances of the case.
"Similar to past polls, the question wording on the death penalty is important. When voters have a choice between the death penalty and life in prison with no chance of parole," support for the death penalty drops significantly," Schwartz said.

From October 7 - 11, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,721 Connecticut registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582- 5201, or follow us on Twitter.


14. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favor                65%    80%    52%    68%    69%    62%
Oppose               23     12     37     18     24     22
DK/NA                12      8     11     14      7     17
 
TREND: Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder? (* Generally speaking do you favor...)
                     Oct 13  Nov 7   Jan 12  Mar 18  Apr 23  Jun 22  Mar 30
                     2010    2007    2005    2003    2001    2000    1998*
 
Favor                65      63      59      60      60      63      67
Oppose               23      27      31      34      30      27      26
DK/NA                12      10      10       6      11      10       7
 
 
15. If a candidate for governor were to take a stand on the death penalty that was different from your own, would you vote against that candidate on the basis of that issue alone or would you consider other things before deciding who to vote for?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Against on issue      6%     6%     7%     5%     6%     7%
Wld consider
 other things        91     89     90     93     93     89
DK/NA                 3      4      3      2      2      4
 
 
16. Which punishment do you prefer for people convicted of murder, the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Death penalty        46%    60%    29%    50%    49%    43%
Life/No parole       41     26     61     34     36     45
DK/NA                14     14     10     16     15     13
 
TREND: Which punishment do you prefer for people convicted of murder: the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole? (*Apr,2001 & Jun,2000 question wording - What do you think should be the penalty for murder ...)
                     Oct 13  Nov 7   Jan 12  Mar 18  Apr 23  Jun 22
                     2010    2007    2005    2003    2001*   2000*
 
Death Penalty        46      47      37      47      42      41
Life/No Parole       41      44      49      46      43      42
DK/NA                14       9      14       7      15      17
 
 
17. Which statement comes closest to your point of view? (A) All persons convicted of murder should get the death penalty, (B) No one convicted of murder should get the death penalty, or (C) Whether or not someone convicted of murder gets the death penalty should depend on the circumstances of the case.
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
(A) All               7%    12%     4%     7%     8%     6%
(B) No one           14      9     22      9     14     13
(C) Depends          78     78     73     82     76     79
DK/NA                 1      2      -      1      1      1
 
TREND: Which statement comes closest to your point of view? (A) All persons convicted of murder should get the death penalty. (B) No one convicted of murder should get the death penalty. (C) Whether or not someone convicted of murder gets the death penalty should depend on the circumstances of the case.
                     Oct 13 Jan 12 Apr 23 Jun 22
                     2010   2005   2001   2000
 
(A) All               7      6      8      9
(B) No one           14     20     15     16
(C) Depends          78     73     76     73
DK/NA                 1      2      1      2
 
 
18. Have you heard or read anything about the Cheshire home invasion murders where a mother and her two daughters were killed in July 2007?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  98%    97%    98%    98%    98%    98%
No                    2      2      2      1      1      2
DK/NA                 1      -      -      1      1      -
 
TREND: Have you heard or read anything about the Cheshire home invasion murders where a mother and her two daughters were killed in July 2007?
                     Oct 13 Nov 07
                     2010   2007
 
Yes                  98     98
No                    2      2
DK/NA                 1      1
 
 
19. Steven Hayes was found guilty of these murders. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for Steven Hayes?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favor                76%    84%    65%    81%    78%    74%
Oppose               18     11     29     14     19     17
DK/NA                 6      5      6      5      3      9