May 28, 2009 - Keep Death Penalty, Connecticut Voters Say Almost 2-1, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Retribution, Severity Of Crime Cited As Main Reasons

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Connecticut voters say 61 - 34 percent that the state should keep the death penalty, rather than abolish it and replace it with a maximum sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

By a 68 - 28 percent margin, men want to keep the death penalty, compared to 55 - 39 percent among women, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Support for the death penalty is 77 - 20 percent among Republicans, 50 -43 percent among Democrats and 64 - 31 percent among independent voters.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 23 percent of Connecticut voters who support the death penalty list retribution and/or fair punishment as their main reason, while 22 percent say the death penalty is needed for severe or heinous crimes.

Among those opposed to the death penalty, 23 percent say no one has the right to take a human life, while 15 percent cite the fear of executing an innocent person.

"Gov. Jodi Rell has said that she intends to veto the bill to abolish the death penalty and public opinion is on her side," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD.

"Voters may want to keep the death penalty for the most horrific crimes, such as the Cheshire home invasion murders. In a November 7, 2007, Quinnipiac University poll, 73 percent of Connecticut voters favored the death penalty if the Cheshire suspects are convicted of murder.

"While the Democratically controlled State Legislature passed the bill to eliminate the death penalty, our poll found that Democrats support keeping the death penalty."

From May 20 - 25, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,575 Connecticut registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.

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 and RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

22. How much have you heard or read about the debate over whether Connecticut should abolish the death penalty? Have you heard a lot, some, not much or nothing at all?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
A lot                21%    19%    23%    20%    23%    19%
Some                 41     41     42     43     42     41
Not much             27     32     24     26     25     28
Nothing at all       11      8     11     11     10     11
DK/NA                 -      -      -      1      -      -
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
A lot                12%    28%    27%    22%    18%
Some                 44     41     33     39     45
Not much             30     20     32     30     26
Nothing at all       15     10      8      8     11
DK/NA                 -      -      -      1      -
 
                                          AGE IN YEARS............
                     Lib    Mod    Con    18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
A lot                24%    17%    24%    18%    12%    21%    31%
Some                 41     43     38     27     38     51     41
Not much             23     28     29     34     35     21     19
Nothing at all       12     11      9     20     14      7      8
DK/NA                 -      -      -      -      1      -      1
 
 
23. Do you think the death penalty should be abolished in Connecticut and replaced with a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or do you think Connecticut should continue to have the death penalty?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Abolish              34%    20%    43%    31%    28%    39%
Continue             61     77     50     64     68     55
DK/NA                 5      3      6      5      4      6
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Abolish              44%    28%    36%    31%    32%
Continue             51     66     57     63     65
DK/NA                 5      6      7      6      3
 
                                          AGE IN YEARS.........
                     Lib    Mod    Con    18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Abolish              55%    32%    22%    36%    28%    35%    38%
Continue             41     63     73     61     68     61     54
DK/NA                 4      5      5      2      4      5      9
 
 
24a. (If abolish q23) What is the main reason why you think the death penalty should be abolished in Connecticut?
                                   ABOLISH Q23
 
No one has the right to take
 a life/It's murder                23%
 
Fear of executing an innocent
 person/Irreversible               15
 
Life in prison is better because
 it is a harsher punishment         9
 
Costs too much to keep someone
 on death row                       9
 
Religious reasons (general)         9
 
Not a deterrent/Not effective       7
 
It's Cruel/Inhumane                 6
 
Just don't support it               6
 
Unethical/Immoral                   5
 
No one is executed anyway           2
 
Life in prison is enough            2
 
It's not applied fairly             1
 
OTHER                               4
DK/NA                               3
 
 
24b. (If continue q23) What is the main reason why you think Connecticut should continue to have the death penalty?
                                   CONTINUE Q23
 
Retribution/Fair punishment/
 Eye for an eye                    23%
 
Costs too much to keep in
 prison/Financial burden           23
 
For severe/heinous crimes          22
 
Deterrent for others/Effective     15
 
Just support it                     4
 
Life in prison isn't enough         3
 
Permanently removes murderer
 from society/Definitive/Final      3
 
OTHER                               6
DK/NA                               2