(Updated with video) The latest Quinnipiac University poll found voters are still divided over their support for the death penalty when offered a choice between death and life in prison, but overwhelmingly support medical marijuana, decriminalizing marijuana, and Sunday liquor sales.
The poll released Thursday found voter support for the death penalty has inched up to 67 percent in favor it. That’s up just two points from October and within the polls margin of error. Asked if they prefer the death penalty for those convicted of murder, 48 percent approved and 43 percent preferred life in prison without parole.
Currently, first-degree murder is not by itself a capital offense in Connecticut.
Offered three choices, 10 percent favor the death penalty for all people convicted of murder; 16 percent say no one should be executed, and 73 percent say the death penalty depends on the circumstances of each case.
The 2007 home invasion and murder of a Cheshire family appears to have generated support for the death penalty. A 2005 poll found 59 percent supported capital punishment.
“Historically, voters favor the death penalty about 2-1 when they are asked a simple yes-no question. When they are offered the choice, however, between the death penalty and life in prison with no chance of parole, voters have been evenly divided,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said.
Schwartz said the increase from 2005 until now shows that support for the death penalty is increasing.
As support of the death penalty increases slightly, voters overwhelmingly support medical marijuana by a 79-17 margin. Support is above 70 percent amongst every voting group.
Also, Connecticut voters support decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana by a 65-32 percent margin. Democrats like the measure more than Republicans, although no group is opposed.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has proposed both medical marijuana and decriminalizing marijuana as part of his legislative proposals.
As for Sunday liquor sales, Malloy has said he would sign legislation if it reached his desk, but is not getting involved in the debate, which has been going on for years.
The poll found voters want to buy liquor on Sunday and support allowing liquor stores to open on Sunday by a 66-31 percent margin. This is the highest level of support ever polled for this question, up from a high of 56-39 percent last March.
“Both Sunday liquor sales and decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana win 2-1 support among Connecticut voters. And there is a near consensus on the medical marijuana law with about 8 in 10 voters supporting it,” Schwartz said. “It is rare to see such a level of support for any issue.”