March 10, 2011 - Death Penalty Support At New High In Connecticut, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters High On Medical Marijuana, Sunday Liquor Sales

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Connecticut voters support the death penalty 67 - 28 percent, inching up to a new high, and say 48 - 43 percent that the penalty for first degree murder should be the death penalty rather than life in prison with no chance of parole, also a new high, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Support for the death penalty, 65 - 23 percent in an October 13, 2010, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, has inched up in every survey since the July 23, 2007, Cheshire murders. Support for the death penalty was 59 - 31 percent January 12, 2005, before the murders. In that same 2005 Quinnipiac University poll, Connecticut voters

preferred life in prison without parole over the death penalty 49 - 37 percent.

In today's survey, death penalty support is 55 - 40 percent among Democrats, 80 - 18 percent among Republicans and 68 - 26 percent among independent voters. Men support the death penalty 73 - 24 percent, while women support it 62 - 32 percent.

Offered three choices, 10 percent favor the death penalty for all people convicted of murder; 16 percent say no one should be executed and 73 percent say the death penalty depends on the circumstances of each case.

"Historically, voters favor the death penalty about 2-1 when they are asked a simple yes- no question. When they are offered the choice, however, between the death penalty and life in prison with no chance of parole, voters have been evenly divided," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD.

"In Connecticut, the Cheshire home invasion murders appear to have changed that. Now voters back the death penalty no matter how we ask the question, but by a smaller margin, when they have the life without parole option," Dr. Schwartz added.

Connecticut voters favor the death penalty 74 - 21 percent for Stephen Hayes, who has been convicted in the Cheshire murders, and 72 - 22 percent for Joshua Komisarjevsky if he is found guilty when his case comes to trial.

Voters support 79 - 17 percent allowing adults to use marijuana if a doctor prescribes it for medical reasons. Support is over 70 percent among every group in the survey.

Connecticut voters also support 65 - 32 percent decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. Support ranges from 53 - 45 percent among Republicans to 70 - 27 percent among Democrats, from 70 - 28 percent among voters 18 to 34 years old to 58 - 38 percent among voters over 65 years old. No group is opposed.

Voters also want to buy liquor on Sunday and support 66 - 31 percent allowing liquor stores to open on Sunday. This is the highest level of support ever for this question, up from 56 - 39 percent March 18, 2010.

But voters oppose 50 - 43 percent allowing groceries to sell wine or hard liquor. Republicans support the measure 50 - 46 percent while opposition is 48 - 44 percent among Democrats and 54 - 38 percent among independent voters. Men split 47 - 47 percent while women are opposed 52 - 41 percent.

"Both Sunday liquor sales and decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana win 2-1 support among Connecticut voters. And there is a near consensus on the medical marijuana law with about 8 in 10 voters supporting it," Dr. Schwartz said.

"It is rare to see such a level of support for any issue."

From March 1 - 7, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,693 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones.

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.

37. Currently, Connecticut liquor stores are not allowed to sell alcohol on Sunday. Do you think Connecticut liquor stores should be allowed to sell alcohol on Sunday or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Yes                  66%    68%    65%    67%    72%    61%    75%
No                   31     30     32     31     26     35     24
DK/NA                 3      2      3      3      2      4      2
 
                     AGE.....................    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50 50-100 >100K
 
Yes                  79%    73%    65%    48%    42%    68%    74%    77%
No                   19     24     33     47     53     31     24     20
DK/NA                 2      3      2      5      5      1      2      3
 
TREND: Currently, Connecticut liquor stores are not allowed to sell alcohol on Sunday. Do you think Connecticut liquor stores should be allowed to sell alcohol on Sunday or not?
                     Mar 10  Mar 18  Mar 10
                     2011    2010    2009
 
Yes                  66      56      54
No                   31      39      44
DK/NA                 3       5       2
 
 
38. As you may know Connecticut grocery stores are not allowed to sell wine or hard liquor. Do you think Connecticut grocery stores should be allowed to sell wine and hard liquor or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Yes                  43%    50%    44%    38%    47%    41%    45%
No                   50     46     48     54     47     52     43
WINE NOT LIQUOR(VOL)  5      4      6      6      5      5      9
DK/NA                 2      1      2      2      1      2      3
 
                     AGE.....................    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50 50-100 >100K
 
Yes                  48%    49%    45%    30%    25%    41%    48%    53%
No                   47     43     50     60     65     53     46     40
WINE NOT LIQUOR(VOL)  4      6      4      8      8      5      4      5
DK/NA                 1      2      1      2      2      1      1      1
 
TREND: As you may know Connecticut grocery stores, are not allowed to sell wine or hard liquor. Do you think Connecticut grocery stores should be allowed to sell wine and hard liquor or not? (*No option available for respondents volunteering "Wine not liquor")
                     Mar 10  Mar 18  Mar 10
                     2011    2010*   2009*
 
Yes                  43      45      39
No                   50      52      58
WINE NOT LIQUOR(VOL)  5       -       -
DK/NA                 2       3       3
 
 
39. There is a proposal in the state legislature that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Low-level marijuana users would be punished with a fine, instead of a criminal charge. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Good idea            65%    53%    70%    66%    69%    61%    70%
Bad idea             32     45     27     32     29     35     29
DK/NA                 3      3      3      3      2      4      1
 
                     AGE.....................    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50 50-100 >100K
 
Good idea            70%    66%    67%    58%    55%    69%    67%    68%
Bad idea             28     32     31     38     40     28     31     30
DK/NA                 2      2      2      4      5      2      2      2
 
TREND: There is a proposal in the state legislature that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Low-level marijuana users would be punished with a fine, instead of a criminal charge. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Mar 10  Mar 10
                     2011    2009
 
Good idea            65      58
Bad idea             32      37
DK/NA                 3       5
 
 
40. There is a proposal in the state legislature that would allow adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Good idea            79%    72%    87%    77%    79%    79%    82%
Bad idea             17     24     11     19     17     17     15
DK/NA                 3      4      2      4      4      3      3
 
                     AGE.....................    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50 50-100 >100K
 
Good idea            77%    81%    80%    80%    71%    87%    84%    76%
Bad idea             18     15     17     18     22     11     14     21
DK/NA                 5      3      3      2      7      2      2      3
 
 
41. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favor                67%    80%    55%    68%    73%    62%
Oppose               28     18     40     26     24     32
DK/NA                 5      3      5      5      3      6
 
                     AGE.....................
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+
 
Favor                60%    73%    67%    66%
Oppose               36     23     28     29
DK/NA                 4      4      4      5
 
TREND: Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?
                                                             FAVOR........ 
                                                             High    Low   
                     Mar 10  Oct 13  Nov 7   Jan 12  Mar 18  Mar 10  Jan 12
                     2011    2010    2007    2005    2003    2011    2005  
                                                                           
Favor                67      65      63      59      60      67      59    
Oppose               28      23      27      31      34      28      31    
DK/NA                 5      12      10      10       6       5      10    
 
 
42. 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        48%    57%    37%    51%    56%    42%
Life/No parole       43     36     57     39     36     49
DK/NA                 9      7      6     10      8      9
 
 
                     AGE.....................    DEATH PEN Q41
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Favor  Oppose
 
Death penalty        34%    57%    51%    47%    70%     3%
Life/No parole       55     35     41     45     20     95
DK/NA                11      7      8      7      9      2
 
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 ...)
                     Mar 10  Oct 13  Nov 7   Jan 12  Mar 18  Apr 23  Jun 22
                     2011    2010    2007    2005    2003    2001*   2000*
 
Death Penalty        48      46      47      37      47      42      41
Life/No Parole       43      41      44      49      46      43      42
DK/NA                 9      14       9      14       7      15      17
 
 
43. 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.
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
(A) All              10%     9%    11%     9%     9%    10%
(B) No one           16     11     26     12     12     19
(C) Depends          73     80     61     77     78     69
DK/NA                 1      -      2      1      -      2
 
                     AGE.....................    DEATH PEN Q41
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Favor  Oppose
 
(A) All               7%    11%     9%    12%    14%     1%
(B) No one           17     14     16     18      2     52
(C) Depends          75     75     75     67     84     45
DK/NA                 1      -      1      3      -      2
 
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.
                     Mar 10  Oct 13  Jan 12  Apr 23  Jun 22
                     2011    2010    2005    2001    2000
 
(A) All              10       7       6       8       9
(B) No one           16      14      20      15      16
(C) Depends          73      78      73      76      73
DK/NA                 1       1       2       1       2
 
 
44. 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                  97%    97%    97%    98%    97%    97%
No                    3      3      3      2      3      3
DK/NA                 -      -      -      -      -      -
 
                     AGE.....................    DEATH PEN Q41
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Favor  Oppose
 
Yes                  93%    98%    99%    99%    97%    97%
No                    7      2      1      1      3      3
DK/NA                 -      -      -      -      -      -
 
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?
                     Mar 10  Oct 13  Nov 07
                     2011    2010    2007
                                     
Yes                  97      98      98
No                    3       2       2
DK/NA                 -       1       1
 
 
45. Steven Hayes was found guilty for his part in these murders. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for Steven Hayes?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favor                74%    82%    64%    77%    79%    70%
Oppose               21     15     30     19     17     25
DK/NA                 5      4      6      4      4      5
 
                     AGE.....................    DEATH PEN Q41
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Favor  Oppose
 
Favor                67%    80%    76%    73%    94%    31%
Oppose               25     17     21     23      3     65
DK/NA                 7      3      3      5      3      5
 
TREND: Steven Hayes was found guilty for his part in these murders. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for Steven Hayes? (*"found guilty of these murders")
                     Mar 10  Oct 13
                     2011    2010*
 
Favor                74      76
Oppose               21      18
DK/NA                 5       6
 
 
46. The other suspect, Joshua Komisarjevsky, has yet to be tried. If he is found guilty, do you favor or oppose the death penalty for Joshua Komisarjevsky?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favor                72%    80%    61%    76%    77%    68%
Oppose               22     14     32     19     18     25
DK/NA                 6      5      7      6      6      6
 
                     AGE.....................    DEATH PEN Q41
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Favor  Oppose
 
Favor                63%    79%    74%    71%    92%    28%
Oppose               28     16     22     23      3     66
DK/NA                 9      5      4      6      4      5