A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning found that four percent more Connecticut residents favor the death penalty than they did a year ago and by a 76 to 18 percent margin favor the death penalty for the two Cheshire defendants. But just six percent would use a candidates’ position on the death penalty as a deciding factor.
Prior to the murder of a mother and her two daughters in their Cheshire home support for the death penalty in general hovered around 60 percent. In general 65 to 23 percent of the 1,721 voters polled support the death penalty.
The poll released Wednesday shows that 12 percent are undecided. The measure wins 80 to 12 percent support from Republicans, 52 to 37 percent support from Democrats, and 68 to 18 percent support from Independent voters. Men back capital punishment 69 to 24 percent, while women back it 62 to 22 percent.
However, passionately voters feel about the issue only six percent said they would base their vote for governor solely on a candidates position regarding the death penalty, while 91 percent would “consider other things” before deciding on a candidate.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley supports the death penalty, while Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy would prefer to abolish it.
“Similar to what we found in the Michael Ross case, support for the death penalty in a specific case can be higher than support in general. This is because some voters who oppose the death penalty in general support it for a particularly heinous crime,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Doug Schwartz said in a press release. “Very few voters are making the death penalty the deciding issue in the race for governor.”
Offered a choice of the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole, 46 percent of voters choose the death penalty while 41 percent prefer life in prison.
“Similar to past polls, the question wording on the death penalty is important. When voters have a choice between the death penalty and life in prison with no chance of parole,” support for the death penalty drops significantly,” Schwartz said.