March 18, 2003 - Pennsylvania Voters Oppose Affirmative Action, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Back Death Penalty, In Sync With National Trend
By a 57 - 36 percent margin, Pennsylvania voters oppose "affirmative action programs that give preferences to black and other minorities, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This is similar to the findings in a March 5 national poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, where American voters opposed affirmative action 51 - 38 percent.

In a simple "favor or oppose" question, Pennsylvania voters favor the death penalty 67 - 28 percent. But when the choice is death or life without parole, support for the death penalty drops to 50 - 42 percent.

"As Pennsylvania goes, so goes the nation when it comes to controversial topics such as abortion, the death penalty and affirmative action. Public opinion on these topics among Pennsylvania voters is in virtual lockstep with the national attitude - clearly against affirmative action, for the death penalty and split on abortion," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"This makes Pennsylvania somewhat more conservative than its northeast neighbors, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, especially on the abortion issue. While almost seven in 10 say abortion should be legal in most or all cases in the other three states, only 55 percent support it in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, 41 percent say no to abortion in most or all cases, compared with less than 30 percent in its northeast neighbors," Richards added.

In the nationwide poll, Americans favored the death penalty 64 - 29 in the simple question, but backed off to 47 - 46 percent for life without parole.

Abortion should be legal in all cases, 23 percent of Pennsylvania voters say, while 32 percent say it should be legal in most cases. In contrast, 24 percent say abortion should be illegal in most cases and 17 percent say abortion should be illegal in all cases.

Nationally, 22 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all cases, with 32 percent saying abortion should be legal in most cases; 24 percent saying abortion should be illegal in most cases and 18 percent saying illegal in all cases.

From February 12 - 18 Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,099 Pennsylvania registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

From February 26 - March 3, Quinnipiac surveyed 1,232 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the nation as a public service and for research. For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu and quicklinks

31. Do you favor or oppose affirmative action programs that give preferences to blacks and other minorities?

                      Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom


Favor 36% 19% 48% 39% 34% 37% Oppose 57 72 46 53 60 54 DK/NA 7 8 6 8 6 9

US CT NJ NY

Favor 37% 40% 34% 42% Oppose 53 50 60 49 DK/NA 10 10 6 9

32a.(Split sample A) Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

                      Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom


Favor 67% 79% 57% 70% 76% 59% Oppose 28 16 39 24 21 35 DK/NA 4 4 4 6 3 6

US CT NJ NY Favor 64% 60% 58% 57% Oppose 29 34 33 37 DK/NA 7 6 9 6

32b.(Split sample B) 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 50% 60% 44% 44% 61% 42% Life/No parole 42 31 50 48 32 50 DK/NA 8 9 6 8 7 8

US CT NJ NY

Death penalty 48% 47% 49% 38% Life/No parole 44 46 45 53 DK/NA 8 7 5 8

33. 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 23% 12% 32% 24% 20% 26% Legal most cases 32 31 31 36 34 31 Illegal most cases 24 31 18 23 27 21 Illegal all cases 17 22 15 12 15 19 DK/NA 4 4 4 4 4 3

US CT NJ NY

Legal all cases 23% 29% 30% 32% Legal most cases 32 40 39 34 Illegal most cases 23 17 17 16 Illegal all cases 18 10 10 13 DK/NA 4 4 4 5