December 15, 2004 - U.S. Voters Favor Death Penalty 2 - 1, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; But Voters Prefer Life Without Parole Over Death
When asked if they "favor" or "oppose" the death penalty for persons convicted of murder, American voters favor the death penalty 62 - 29 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

But when offered a choice of punishment, voters prefer life without parole over the death penalty 46 - 42 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Among religious groups, Catholics who attend church services weekly prefer life without parole 66 - 22 percent. Protestant weekly church-goers split 43 - 43 percent. Those who never attend religious services prefer the death penalty 47 - 42 percent.

Looking at the abortion issue, the strongest opposition is among Catholic and Protestant weekly church-goers, while the strongest support is among those who never attend services. Among all American voters:
  • 16 percent say abortion should be legal in all cases;
  • 41 percent say abortion should be legal in most cases;
  • 26 percent say abortion should be illegal in most cases;
  • 13 percent say abortion should be illegal in all cases.
"On the hot-button issue of the death penalty, it depends on how you ask the question. Americans favor the death penalty, but when offered the choice of locking someone up forever, but not killing them, they shift to the life option," said Maurice Carroll, Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Devout Catholics must be listening to their bishops: Voters who go to Mass every week prefer life without parole over the death penalty 3 - 1, and they are strongest in their opposition to abortion," Carroll added.

By a 62 - 32 percent margin American voters say a person nominated to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court should publicly state his/her position on abortion.

And voters say 50 - 34 percent that President George W. Bush should nominate Supreme Court justices who would uphold the Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal in the first three months of pregnancy.

"By a big majority, Americans want to know in advance how a Supreme Court nominee would vote on Roe v. Wade. And half of the voters want that nominee to uphold the historic abortion ruling," Carroll said.

In another issue working its way through the legal system, American voters oppose 51 - 45 percent a law to legalize same sex civil unions. By an even bigger 65 - 31 percent margin, voters oppose a law allowing for same sex marriages. Voters who attend religious services weekly oppose same sex marriage 82 - 15 percent, while those who never attend services support same sex marriage 49 - 46 percent.

Voters oppose 53 - 43 percent amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same sex marriage.

"Even the half-way measure, legalization of same sex civil unions, loses. Americans don't support same sex civil unions or marriage, but they don't want to tinker with the Constitution on this issue," Carroll said.

From December 7 - 12, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,529 registered voters nationwide. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida and nationwide as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu or call (203) 582-5201

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the United States Supreme Court is handling its job? (* All adults)

                        App    Dis    DK/NA


Dec 15, 2004 50 33 17 Mar 5, 2003* 56 28 17



TREND: Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases? (* All adults)

                       Legal    Legal    Illegal    Illegal
                       All      Most     Most       All       DK/NA


Dec 15, 2004 16 41 26 13 5 Jul 24, 2004 18 35 27 13 6 May 27, 2004 20 35 26 14 6 Jun 12, 2003* 21 33 24 17 6 Mar 5, 2003* 22 32 24 18 4



TREND: Would you support or oppose a law that would allow same-sex couples to form civil unions, giving them many of the legal rights of married couples?

                       Support    Oppose    DK/NA
                       
Dec 15, 2004           45         51         4
Jul 24, 2004           40         55         6
Mar 25, 2004           40         53         7
Feb 2, 2004            40         53         7
Dec 10, 2003           40         53         7




TREND: Would you support or oppose a law that would allow same-sex couples to get married?

                       Support    Oppose    DK/NA
                       
Dec 15, 2004           31         65         4
Jul 24, 2004           31         63         5
Mar 25, 2004           31         63         6
Feb 2, 2004            34         61         5
Dec 10, 2003           35         60         5




TREND: Would you support or oppose amending the United States Constitution to ban same-sex marriage?

                       Support    Oppose    DK/NA
                       
Dec 15, 2004           43         53         4
Jul 24, 2004           39         55         6
Mar 25, 2004           41         51         8




TREND: Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted or murder? (* All adults)

                        Favor    Oppose    DK/NA
                        
Dec 15, 2004            62       29         9
Jun 12, 2003*           65       25        10
Mar 5, 2003*            64       29         7




TREND: Which punishment do you prefer for people convicted of murder: the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole? (* All adults)

                         Death       Life
                         Penalty     No Parole     DK/NA


Dec 15, 2004 42 46 12 Jun 12, 2003* 44 45 11 Mar 5, 2003* 46 47 8



3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the United States Supreme Court is handling its job?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 50% 61% 42% 54% 51% 50% Disapprove 33 27 40 30 35 31 DK/NA 17 12 18 17 14 19



16. The 1973 Supreme Court ruling called Roe. V. Wade made abortion in the first three months of pregnancy legal. Do you think President Bush should nominate Supreme Court justices who would uphold the Roe. V. Wade decision, or nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Uphold Roe V Wade 50% 36% 59% 55% 47% 53% Overturn Roe V Wade 34 47 26 30 35 33 DK/NA 16 17 14 15 18 14

Age in years................. No col College 18-29 30-44 45-64 65+ degree degree

Uphold Roe V Wade 50% 60% 52% 34% 46% 64% Overturn Roe V Wade 40 32 30 38 38 24 DK/NA 10 8 18 27 17 13

ATTEND SERVICES.............. Weekly Monthly Yearly Never

Uphold Roe V Wade 34% 51% 64% 68% Overturn Roe V Wade 50 35 22 15 DK/NA 16 14 14 18

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

Uphold Roe V Wade 46% 49% 33% 40% 58% 57% Overturn Roe V Wade 37 36 52 44 24 30 DK/NA 17 15 15 16 18 13



17. Do you think the next person nominated to join the United States Supreme Court should or should not publicly state his or her position on abortion before being approved by the U.S. Senate for the job?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes/should 62% 60% 67% 58% 59% 64% No/should not 32 34 28 34 34 29 DK/NA 6 6 5 7 6 6

Age in years................. No col College 18-29 30-44 45-64 65+ degree degree

Yes/should 64% 64% 61% 58% 64% 55% No/should not 32 33 32 31 29 41 DK/NA 4 3 7 10 7 4

ATTEND SERVICES.............. Weekly Monthly Yearly Never

Yes/should 63% 63% 63% 57% No/should not 30 30 34 37 DK/NA 7 8 4 7

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

Yes/should 64% 58% 67% 59% 61% 57% No/should not 31 33 28 33 34 34 DK/NA 6 9 5 8 5 9



18. Do you think abortion should be - legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Legal all cases 16% 8% 23% 15% 14% 17% Legal most cases 41 32 44 49 41 41 Illegal most cases 26 38 19 20 29 23 Illegal all cases 13 19 8 11 11 14 DK/NA 5 3 6 5 5 5

Age in years................. No col College 18-29 30-44 45-64 65+ degree degree

Legal all cases 18% 17% 17% 9% 14% 20% Legal most cases 37 44 43 37 39 47 Illegal most cases 26 25 24 30 27 22 Illegal all cases 17 11 10 16 14 8 DK/NA 2 3 6 8 5 3

ATTEND SERVICES.............. Weekly Monthly Yearly Never

Legal all cases 7% 26% 19% 22% Legal most cases 29 35 52 59 Illegal most cases 36 22 21 13 Illegal all cases 22 10 6 3 DK/NA 6 8 2 3

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

Legal all cases 15% 13% 6% 9% 22% 16% Legal most cases 40 39 31 28 47 48 Illegal most cases 28 30 37 35 20 26 Illegal all cases 13 12 22 21 6 5 DK/NA 5 6 4 7 5 5



19. Would you support or oppose a law that would allow same-sex couples to form civil unions, giving them many of the legal rights of married couples?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 45% 29% 51% 57% 44% 46% Oppose 51 68 45 38 52 50 DK/NA 4 2 4 5 5 4

Age in years................. No col College 18-29 30-44 45-64 65+ degree degree

Support 60% 48% 47% 25% 39% 61% Oppose 38 48 50 68 56 35 DK/NA 2 4 3 7 4 4

ATTEND SERVICES.............. Weekly Monthly Yearly Never

Support 29% 46% 55% 67% Oppose 67 50 41 29 DK/NA 4 5 3 5

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

Support 35% 52% 22% 43% 47% 60% Oppose 61 43 75 51 49 36 DK/NA 4 6 2 6 5 5



20. Would you support or oppose a law that would allow same-sex couples to get married?
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 31% 14% 40% 39% 28% 33% Oppose 65 84 54 57 68 62 DK/NA 4 2 6 4 4 5

Age in years................. No col College 18-29 30-44 45-64 65+ degree degree

Support 52% 34% 30% 10% 28% 40% Oppose 46 61 66 84 68 55 DK/NA 3 4 4 5 4 5

ATTEND SERVICES.............. Weekly Monthly Yearly Never

Support 15% 31% 43% 49% Oppose 82 63 54 46 DK/NA 4 6 3 5

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

Support 23% 34% 12% 21% 33% 45% Oppose 74 60 87 74 63 49 DK/NA 3 6 2 6 4 6



21. Would you support or oppose amending the United States Constitution to ban same sex-marriage?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 43% 64% 31% 36% 45% 42% Oppose 53 34 65 60 52 54 DK/NA 4 2 4 3 3 4

Age in years................. No col College 18-29 30-44 45-64 65+ degree degree

Support 41% 46% 41% 47% 48% 31% Oppose 58 53 55 46 48 66 DK/NA 1 2 4 7 4 2

ATTEND SERVICES.............. Weekly Monthly Yearly Never

Support 55% 41% 37% 28% Oppose 42 56 59 68 DK/NA 3 3 4 4

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

Support 51% 38% 63% 42% 41% 35% Oppose 46 58 36 54 54 61 DK/NA 4 4 2 4 5 3



22a. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder? (Split sample A)

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor 62% 77% 52% 60% 67% 58% Oppose 29 16 38 32 29 29 DK/NA 9 8 10 8 4 13

Age in years................. No col College 18-29 30-44 45-64 65+ degree degree

Favor 65% 63% 62% 57% 63% 58% Oppose 29 29 31 27 27 35 DK/NA 6 8 7 16 9 8

ATTEND SERVICES.............. Weekly Monthly Yearly Never Favor 63% 55% 69% 56% Oppose 27 35 24 36 DK/NA 10 9 8 8

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

Favor 65% 59% 66% 58% 66% 60% Oppose 25 32 22 35 26 30 DK/NA 10 9 12 8 8 10



22b. Which punishment do you prefer for people convicted of murder: the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole? (Split sample B)

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Death penalty 42% 53% 32% 43% 49% 35% Life without parole 46 33 57 46 39 52 DK/NA 12 14 11 11 12 12

Age in years................. No col College 18-29 30-44 45-64 65+ degree degree

Death penalty 41% 49% 45% 31% 44% 38% Life without parole 54 39 43 55 44 50 DK/NA 6 12 12 14 12 11

ATTEND SERVICES.............. Weekly Monthly Yearly Never Death penalty 38% 43% 47% 47% Life without parole 48 47 44 42 DK/NA 14 10 9 11

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

Death penalty 44% 37% 43% 22% 46% 52% Life without parole 43 53 43 66 44 41 DK/NA 13 10 13 12 10 8