January 12, 2005 - Connecticut Voters Back Death Penalty, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Given Choice, More Prefer Life Without Parole
When asked whether they favor or oppose the death penalty, Connecticut voters favor it 59 - 31 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. When offered the alternative, however, of life in prison with no chance of parole, voters prefer the life option over the death penalty 49 - 37 percent.

In the favor/oppose question, men favor the death penalty 65 - 27 percent, while women favor it 54 - 35 percent. Republicans are 71 - 23 percent in favor of the death penalty, with Democrats in favor 48 - 43 percent and independent voters in favor 62 - 27 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Catholics favor the death penalty 66 - 26 percent, with Protestants in favor 58 - 31 percent.

Looking at the specific case of Michael Ross, Connecticut voters favor the death penalty 70 - 23 percent.

"The upcoming execution of Michael Ross comes at a time when most Connecticut voters, 59 percent, support the death penalty. In the case of Michael Ross, support for the death penalty rises to 70 percent, as 25 percent of voters who generally oppose the death penalty would make an exception in his case," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D.

"Connecticut voters views on the death penalty are similar to voters nationwide. Support for the death penalty drops dramatically when voters are presented with the alternative of life in prison with no chance of parole," Dr. Schwartz added.

When asked whether appeals to Ross' death sentence should be mandatory, or whether he should be allowed to die without further appeal, Connecticut voters say 85 - 9 percent that Ross should be allowed to die.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 57 percent of those who favor the death penalty cite retribution in some form as the main reason for their position.

Of those opposed to the death penalty, 58 percent cite moral or religious beliefs.

Among Connecticut voters, 31 percent think more favorably of Gov. Jodi Rell for refusing to delay Ross' execution, while 6 percent think less favorably and 61 percent say this does not affect their opinion of Gov. Rell.

Everyone convicted of murder should receive the death penalty, 6 percent of voters say, with 20 percent who say no one should get the death penalty and 73 percent who say the death penalty should depend on the circumstances of each case.

By a 54 - 40 percent margin, Connecticut voters do not think the death penalty deters others from committing murder.

Only 18 percent of voters think death by lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment, with 75 percent who say it is not.

From January 7 - 10, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,287 Connecticut registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida and the nation as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu and quicklinks

TREND: Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder? (*Mar,1998 question wording, "Generally speaking, do you...")

                        Fav     Opp     DK/NA


Jan 12, 2005 59 31 10 Mar 18, 2003 60 34 6 Apr 23, 2001 60 30 11 Jun 22, 2000 63 27 10 Mar 30, 1998* 67 26 7



TREND: (If 'favor' death penalty) What is the main reason why you favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

                                        Jan 12  Jun 22
                                        2005    2000


Punishment fits crime/Eye for an eye /Retribution 57 54

Shouldn't pay for murderers in prison/Prison time costs too much 12 9

Deterrent 10 13

Permanently removes murderers from society 8 6

Closure for victims families 2 --

No hope for rehabilitation 1 --

Other, Specify 4 5 DK/NA 5 10



TREND: (If 'oppose' death penalty) What is the main reason why you oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

                                        Jan 12  Jun 22
                                        2005    2000


Moral/Religious Total 58 43 No one has right to take a life 28 29 Moral reasons 17 3 Religious reasons 13 11

Fear of executing innocent person 14 28

Life in prison wld be harsher 11 5

Too extreme/Cruel unusual punishment 5 2

Not a deterrent 4 --

Applied unfairly 2 4

Death Penalty is too expensive 2 --

Rehabilitation can work 1 --

Other, Specify 2 6 DK/NA 2 8



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 - the death penalty, or life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole?")

                        Death   Life/No
                        Penalty Parole  DK/NA


Jan 12, 2005 37 49 14 Mar 18, 2003 47 46 7 Apr 23, 2001* 42 43 15 Jun 22, 2000* 41 42 17



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.

                        (A)     (B)     (C)
                        All     No one  Depends DK/NA


Jan 12, 2005 6 20 73 2 Apr 23, 2001 8 15 76 1 Jun 22, 2000 9 16 73 2



TREND: Do you think that the death penalty deters others from committing murder or not?
                        Yes     No      DK/NA


Jan 12, 2005 40 54 6 Apr 23, 2001 34 62 4 Jun 22, 2000 39 56 5



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

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor 59% 71% 48% 62% 65% 54% Oppose 31 23 43 27 27 35 DK/NA 10 6 9 11 8 11

ATTEND SERVICES ATTEND SERVICES Weekly........ Prot Cath Weekly Less Prot Cath

Favor 58% 66% 52% 63% 51% 53% Oppose 31 26 36 29 35 36 DK/NA 11 8 12 8 14 10



19a. (If 'favor' q18)What is the main reason why you favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

                        Tot
Punishment fits
 crime/Eye for an
 eye/Retribution        57%


Shouldn't pay for murderers in prison/Prison time costs too much 12

Deterrent 10

Closure for victims families 2

No hope for rehabilitation 1

Permanently removes murderers from society 8

Other, Specify 4 DK/NA 5



19b. (If 'oppose' q18)What is the main reason why you oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?



                        Tot


Moral/Religious Total 58% No one has right to take another life 28 Moral reasons 17 Religious reasons 13

Fear of executing innocent person 14

Life in prison wld be harsher punishment 11

Too extreme/Cruel unusual punishment 5

Not a deterrent 4

Applied unfairly 2

Death Penalty is too expensive 2

Rehabilitation can work 1

Other, Specify 2 DK/NA 2



20. 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 37% 43% 30% 37% 44% 32% Life without parole 49 44 59 45 42 54 DK/NA 14 13 11 18 14 14

ATTEND SERVICES ATTEND SERVICES Weekly........ Prot Cath Weekly Less Prot Cath

Death penalty 40% 39% 29% 41% 26% 32% Life without parole 49 46 58 44 61 56 DK/NA 10 15 13 15 13 12



21. 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 should get death penalty 6% 6% 5% 5% 9% 4% (B) No one get the death penalty 20 15 29 16 16 23 (C) Should depend on circumstances 73 76 66 77 73 72 DK/NA 2 3 1 2 2 2



22. Michael Ross has admitted killing eight women in Connecticut and New York in the early 1980s. He is on Connecticut's death row for the murders of four of those women. He is scheduled to be executed on January 26. How much have you heard or read about Michael Ross' upcoming execution - A lot, some, only a little, or nothing at all?



                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


A lot 45% 43% 49% 44% 47% 44% Some 30 30 26 33 28 31 Only a little 16 16 17 16 15 17 Nothing at all 8 11 7 8 10 7 DK/NA - - 1 - - 1



23. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for Michael Ross?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor 70% 77% 59% 73% 75% 65% Oppose 23 17 33 20 19 26 DK/NA 8 6 8 7 6 9

ATTEND SERVICES ATTEND SERVICES Weekly........ Prot Cath Weekly Less Prot Cath

Favor 69% 75% 62% 74% 62% 64% Oppose 23 19 29 20 31 27 DK/NA 8 6 9 7 7 9



24. As you may know, Governor Rell refused to delay the execution of Michael Ross. Does this make you think more favorably of Rell, less favorably of Rell, or doesn't it affect your opinion of Rell?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


More favorably 31% 37% 26% 32% 34% 29% Less favorably 6 5 9 4 5 6 No effect 61 57 61 63 59 62 DK/NA 2 1 4 1 2 2



25. Michael Ross has said he doesn't want to pursue any further appeals of his death sentence. Should further appeals of his death sentence be mandatory, or should he be allowed to die without further appeals?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Should be mandatory appeals 9% 8% 15% 6% 9% 9% He should be allowed to die 85 89 78 88 87 84 DK/NA 6 4 7 5 4 7



26. Do you think execution by lethal injection represents cruel and unusual punishment or not?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 18% 14% 25% 17% 16% 20% No 75 83 66 77 79 72 DK/NA 7 3 10 7 5 8



27. Do you think that the death penalty deters others from committing murder or not?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 40% 51% 31% 40% 46% 34% No 54 44 63 53 48 59 DK/NA 6 5 6 7 6 7