Monday, July 26, 2010

Support for Death Penalty on the Rise

Support for the death penalty has increased in America’s largest state. California, with more than 44-million people, saw a recent 3-percent increase in support for capital punishment.

A recent survey of registered voters found 70-percent backed capital punishment, up from 67-percent in the last statewide poll in 2006. Twenty-four percent opposed the death penalty and 6-percent had no opinion.

A smaller number of voters were asked which sentence they preferred for a first-degree murderer, 42-percent said life in prison without parole and 41-percent said death. Another 13- percent said it would depend on the circumstances, and 4-percent had no opinion.

The 13-percent should probably been included with the 41-percent favoring death. In the past, when survey participants have been asked about specific cases like Timothy McVeigh or Saddam Hussein support for the death penalty rose above 80-percent. With a margin of error of approximately 5-percent support for the death penalty over life in prison could be as high as 59-percent.

The survey was conducted by telephone between June 22 and July 5. The question on support for capital punishment was asked of 1,390 voters; 485 of them were asked the question about the death penalty vs. life in prison for murderers.

Field Corporation said the margin of error was 2.8 percentage points on the death penalty question and 4.6 percentage points for the question on preferred sentences.

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