A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found Connecticut voters support the death penalty for persons convicted of murder 63 – 27 percent, but 75 percent of voters say their opinion has not changed as a result of the murder of three members of a Cheshire family.
While their views of the death penalty may not have changed, the poll of 1,029 voters found 60 – 33 percent have less confidence in Connecticut’s parole system.
And for all the hype about a stronger three-strikes law following the Cheshire murders, the poll found only 35 percent of voters support a so-called “third strike” law where a person convicted of three violent felonies automatically is sentenced to life in prison, while 63 percent say sentences should be decided on a case-by-case basis. Republicans at the state Capitol are unlikely to give up their support of a tougher three strikes law, (a sign calling for a three-strikes law is on display outside the GOP’s third-floor offices in the state Capitol) and Democrats are holding up the poll results to support their parole reforms.
Senate President Donald Williams and Senator Thomas Gaffey said the poll supports their proposals to appoint a full-time professional Board of Pardons and Paroles, restricting the use of reentry furloughs, and providing inmate files to board members at least one week before a hearing or meeting to consider the suitability of an inmate for parole release.
And to reduce prison overcrowding, 48 percent of voters say build more prisons, while 39 percent say release inmates earlier. But only 47 percent of voters want to pay higher taxes for new prisons, while 50 percent are opposed.
By a 62 – 32 percent margin, Connecticut voters are willing to pay higher taxes for more community supervision of offenders. “While voters are divided over whether they would pay more in taxes to build more prisons, they would pay higher taxes for more community of supervision of parolees,” Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said in a press release.
The poll also found voters still approve of Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Voters approve 77 – 14 percent of the job Rell is doing. In 16 Quinnipiac University polls since August 2004, Gov. Rell has slipped below 70 percent – to 69 percent – just once.
“Gov. Jodi Rell has held the highest approval rating for the longest time of any public official we’ve ever measured. She seems to defy conventional wisdom,” Schwartz said.
To read the entire Q-Poll click here.