June 22, 2000 - Connecticut Voters Favor Death Penalty More Than 2 -1, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; But Voters Are Split When Life Without Parole Is Option
Connecticut voters favor the death penalty 63 - 27 percent when asked if they "favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder," according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today. Men favor the death penalty 71 - 22 percent while women favor it 56 - 31 percent.

Of those who favor the death penalty, 54 percent say their main reason is that it is a fitting punishment for murder, while only 13 percent cite deterrence as the main reason for their position.

Of those opposed to the death penalty, 43 percent cite moral or religious grounds, while 28 percent point to the fear of executing an innocent person as the main reason for their position.

When voters are asked if the penalty for murder should be death or "life imprisonment with absolutely no chance of parole," 41 percent favor the death penalty while 42 percent favor life without parole, with 17 percent undecided.

"Despite news reports about the flaws in the administration of the death penalty, the majority of Connecticut voters favor the death penalty. However, when respondents are given a choice between the death penalty or life in prison with no possibility of parole, the public is evenly divided on the issue," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.

"Clearly, the main reason why people favor the death penalty is not so much because they believe it will make society safer, but they believe it is an appropriate punishment for murder - an eye for an eye," Schwartz added.

By a 65 - 29 percent margin, Connecticut voters say a poor person is more likely than a person with more income to face the death penalty for the same crime, and by a 53 - 39 percent margin they say a black person is more likely than a white person to face the death penalty for the same crime.

Black voters believe 85 - 8 percent there is a racial bias in death sentences, while white voters believe it 51 - 42 percent.

By an 86 - 11 percent margin, Connecticut voters oppose televised executions and by a similar margin they say they would not watch a televised execution.

From June 13 - 19, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,328 Connecticut registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research. For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu

15. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Favor 63% 74% 51% 65% 71% 56% 65% 42%

Oppose 27 17 39 25 22 31 26 44

DK/NA 10 10 10 10 6 13 9 15



16a. (If 'favor' death penalty on Q15) What is the main reason why you favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

                                Favor Death
                                Penalty on Q15
Retribution/Fair
 punishment                     54%
Deterrent for others to
 commit murders                 13
Permanently remove
 murderers from society          6
Murderers cannot be
 rehabilitated                   1
Taxpayers shouldn't pay
 for murderers to live in
 prison                          9
Religious reasons(general)       1


Other 5 DK/NA 10



16b. (If 'oppose' death penalty on Q15) What is the main reason why you oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

                                Oppose Death
                                Penalty on Q15


Moral reasons(general) 3% Religious reasons(general) 11 No one has right to take another's life 29 Fear of executing innocent person 28 It's applied unfairly 4 Not a deterrent 1 Death Penalty is too expensive 1 Punishment is too extreme/ Cruel 2 Life in prison would be a harsher punishment 5 Rehabilitation can work 1

Other 6 DK/NA 8



20. What do you think should be the penalty for murder - the death penalty, or life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole?

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Death penalty 41% 53% 27% 44% 47% 36% 42% 24%

life imprisonment no parole 42 33 56 39 36 48 42 58

DK/NA 17 14 17 17 17 17 16 18



21. Which statement comes closest to your point of view?

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


All persons convicted of murder should get the death penalty 9% 14% 6% 8% 9% 8% 8% 8%

No one convicted of murder should get the death penalty 16 10 24 15 14 18 16 21

Whether or not someone convicted of murder gets the death penalty should depend on the circumstances of the case 73 75 69 75 76 71 74 69

DK/NA 2 2 1 2 1 2 1 2



22. How often do you think that a person has been sentenced to the death penalty in the United States who was, in fact, innocent for the crime he or she was charged with - do you think this has ever happened in the past 20 years, or do you think it has never happened?

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Yes/Has happened 90% 87% 89% 93% 90% 90% 90% 94%

No/Has never happened 5 9 5 4 6 5 6 3

DK/NA 5 4 6 3 4 5 5 3



23. Do you think that the death penalty deters others from committing murder or not?
                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Yes/Deters others 39% 56% 31% 35% 49% 30% 39% 19%

No/Doesn't deter others 56 39 64 60 48 64 56 79

DK/NA 5 5 5 5 4 6 5 2



Would you tell me whether you agree or disagree with each of the following statements.



24. A poor person is more likely than a person of average or above average income to receive the death penalty for the same crime

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Yes/Agree 65% 56% 73% 66% 66% 64% 64% 81%

No/Disagree 29 35 22 30 28 30 30 15

DK/NA 6 8 5 4 6 6 6 5



25. A black person is more likely than a white person to receive the death penalty for the same crime

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Yes/Agree 53% 44% 66% 51% 52% 54% 51% 85%

No/Disagree 39 47 28 41 42 37 42 8

DK/NA 8 8 5 8 6 9 7 6



26. Do you favor or oppose televising executions?

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Favor 11% 15% 9% 11% 19% 5% 11% 16%

Oppose 86 83 87 88 79 92 87 77

DK/NA 3 3 4 2 3 3 2 6



27. Would you watch a televised execution or not?

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Yes 11% 15% 9% 11% 17% 5% 11% 15%

No 87 83 90 87 81 92 88 79

DK/NA 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 6



28. Since George W. Bush became governor of Texas in 1994, Texas has had more executions than any other state. Does this make you more likely to vote for Bush for President, less likely, or doesn't it make a difference?

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


More likely 6% 13% 2% 5% 7% 5% 6% 3%

Less likely 25 8 42 24 20 29 24 47

Doesn't make a difference 67 77 55 68 71 64 68 50

DK/NA 2 2 1 2 2 3 2 -



29. As you may know, DNA tests have only been recognized as evidence in the past few years. Do you think that prisoners who were convicted before DNA tests were ever conducted should - or should not - be allowed to get DNA tests now - if such tests might show they were innocent?

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Yes/Should be allowed 93% 90% 95% 94% 92% 95% 93% 98%

No/Should not be allowed 3 6 2 3 5 2 3 -

DK/NA 3 5 3 3 3 4 3 2



30. To the best of your knowledge, does Connecticut have the death penalty or not, or don't you know?

                        Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom   Wht   Blk


Yes 58% 62% 53% 60% 65% 52% 59% 48%

No 18 15 23 17 17 19 17 23

Don't know 24 23 24 23 18 29 23 29

REFUSED - - - - - - - -