Recent Poll Results From Around The Country
Nearly Three Out of Four Pennsylvanians Support a Suspension of the Death Penalty Until Its Fairness Can Be Studied
- 72% of Pennsylvanians favor a temporary halt to the administration of the death
penalty until questions about its fairness can be studied, according to a poll of 509 registered voters in Pennsylvania
conducted by Madonna Yost Opinion Research in March, 2001.
62% of North Carolinians Support Death Penalty Moratorium
(Charlotte Observer, 9/10/00)
- 62% of North Carolinians polled said they favor halting executions until it is determined that the death penalty is fair.
- Asked about the appropriate penalty for those convicted of murder, 45% of poll respondents preferred the death penalty, 38% favored life without parole and about 16% weren't sure.
- 64% think the Carolinas should ban executions of people with mental retardation, while 21% said they shouldn't.
Ohio Poll Shows Preference for Life in Prison Without Parole; DNA Testing
(The Columbus Dispatch, 8/6/00)
A Buckeye State Poll, conducted by the Ohio State University, found the following:
- 46% would prefer life in prison without the possibility of parole as an alternative to the death penalty for first degree murderers.
- 95% think that states should permit DNA testing in all cases.
- 51% think it is likely or very likely that an innocent person can be wrongly convicted and executed.
Harris Poll Finds Support for the Death Penalty Declining
- A Harris poll found that support for the death penalty dropped to 64% this year, down from 75% in 1997 and 71% in 1999.
- The poll also found that 94% believed that some innocent people have been convicted of murder.
NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll finds 42% of respondents believe the death penalty is not applied fairly
(NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, July 2000)
The poll also finds:
* Poll findings compiled by Death Penalty Information Center.
- 63% of respondents favor a suspension of the death penalty until questions about its fairness can be studied, based on several instances in which criminals sentenced to be executed have been released based on new evidence or new DNA testing.
Support for Capital Punishment Drops in Alabama
(Mobile Register, 7/2/00)
The results of a Mobile Register/University of South Alabama poll, show that among adults in Alabama:
- 63% said they support capital punishment, a smaller number than polls in recent years showed.
- 70% said that it was likely or very likely that an innocent person has been executed in Alabama in the last 100 years.
- 85% said the federal government should require states to permit DNA testing in all cases in which it might prove a person's guilt or innocence.
- Over 60% agreed that poor people are more likely to be sentenced to death than more affluent defendants charged with the same crime.
Majority of Americans Believe Innocent Person Has Been Executed in Last Five Years
(CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll Release, 6/30/00)
- The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll shows that only a slim majority (51%) of Americans believe the death penalty is applied fairly.
- In addition, 80% believe an innocent person has been executed in the United States in the past five years.
- 46% say that an innocent person has been executed in Texas during George W. Bush's tenure as governor.
Californians Support Halting Executions by 4-1
(San Francisco Chronicle, 6/22/00)
- According to a recent Field Poll, Californians favor stopping state executions by nearly 4 to 1.
- When asked if they would favor or oppose Gov. Davis halting executions in order to study the fairness of the state's capital punishment system, 73% supported a moratorium. California has the largest death row in the nation with 560 inmates.
Texans Believe State has Executed the Innocent
(Houston Chronicle, 6/21/00)
- A Scripps-Howard Poll found that 57% of Texans surveyed believe Texas has executed someone who was innocent of the crime.
- 3 out of 4 respondents said the state should declare a moratorium on death sentences in cases that might be affected by DNA testing.
Abolition of New Hampshire Death Penalty Supported by Judiciary Committee and Residents
(Associated Press, 5/8/00 and 5/5/00)
As the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-1 to recommend that the state's death penalty law be repealed, a new poll by Northeastern University found that:
- 55% of New Hampshire residents support abolition of the state's death penalty, 35% oppose it, and 10% are undecided.
- The poll, released on May 8, also shows that 78% of residents believe the death penalty is too arbitrary,
- and 60% believe it is better to put murderers in prison for life than to risk executing an innocent person.
Americans Support DNA Testing to Clear Innocent Inmates
(Gallup News Service, 3/30/00)
- A recent Gallup Poll shows that 92% of Americans believe that prisoners, who were convicted before DNA tests were ever available, should be allowed to have DNA tests now, if such tests might show their innocence. Support for this position runs solidly across all demographic groups and political ideologies.
Support for Death Penalty Declining in Illinois
(Chicago Tribune, 3/7/00)
- A Chicago Tribune poll shows that support for the death penalty among registered voters in Illinois has fallen to 58%, down from 76% in August 1994 and 63% last year.
- Also among the poll findings: 66% agree with Governor Ryan's decision to suspend executions while the state's capital punishment system is reviewed.
Support for Death Penalty at 19-year Low
(Gallup Press Release, 2/24/00)
- A recent Gallup Poll shows that although a majority of Americans favor the death penalty, that percentage has been gradually decreasing and is now at 66%, its lowest level since 1981.
- Also among the poll findings: When given the alternative of life without the possibility of parole, the
percentage of Americans favoring the death penalty drops to 52%.
- 91% of those polled acknowledged that over the past 20 years, there has been at least one person sentenced to death who was nevertheless innocent.
According to an ABCNEWS.com telephone survey, support for the death penalty is dropping
- Support for the death penalty itself has fallen, from a high of 77% in a 1996 poll to 64% now. Support drops even further, to below 50%, when the alternative punishment of life in prison without parole is offered.
- When the survey asked those polled which punishment they prefer, death or life without parole, support for the death penalty dropped from 64% to 48%.
University of Connecticut poll found 55% don't believe the death penalty is a deterrent to murder
(Associated Press, 1/7/00)
A poll of Connecticut residents conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of
Connecticut also found the following:
- Nearly 40% believe a black or Hispanic defendant is more likely to be sentenced to death than a white defendant who commits a similar crime, while 51% believe race would have no real effect on the punishment.
- 30% believe it is likely that Connecticut will execute someone who later is proven innocent.