CTNJ file photo
A majority of voters support the idea of allowing a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a terminally ill patient, even though they don’t necessarily believe it would help them. That’s according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

The poll found 61 percent support for the concept, but when asked if they would seek to end their lives given that they had a terminal illness and six months left to live, 53 percent of voters said they would not. The number increases to 73 percent when told they had six months to live and were in “severe pain.”

Voters are closely divided on whether they would ask a doctor to help them take their own life, as 39 percent say “no” in all cases, while 33 percent say they would if they were terminally ill, and another 12 percent would if they were terminally ill and in pain.

“Public support for allowing assisted dying in Connecticut is a very personal issue, crossing partisan, gender and age lines,” Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said in a press release.

Another issue being debated by the legislature this year is the bingo-style game of keno, which is played in bars, restaurants, and convenience stores in surrounding states. Again, 65 percent of voters oppose keno. In two previous polls, 59 percent and 70 percent of voters opposed it.

This year, there’s a movement to repeal the game, which was passed in the final hours of last years legislative session in an effort to close a budget gap.

And even though they appreciate his handling of snow storms, voters don’t approve of how Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is handling the budget or the economy.

The poll found that a majority of voters, or 63 percent, believe the $55 tax refund to residents, which was part of the governor’s budget proposal in February, is a “political gimmick.” About 45 percent of those polled had heard nothing about the $155 million Malloy wants to give back to taxpayers in the form of a refund and only 22 percent believe it’s good public policy.

About 53 percent of voters disapprove of the way Malloy is handling the budget, 60 percent disapprove of his handling of the economy and jobs, 63 percent disapprove of his handling of taxes, and he gets a divided rating on his handling of education policy — about 41 percent approve and 43 disapprove. The poll has a 3.2 percent margin of error.

When it comes to Malloy’s handling of storms, voters overwhelmingly approve of his handling of winter snowstorms. About 86 percent of voters approve of his storm performance, including 84 percent of Republicans.

There are another 47 percent who approve of Malloy’s handling of gun laws in the state. Following the Sandy Hook massacre, the state legislature passed stricter gun control laws. About 43 percent of voters disapprove of how Malloy has handled gun policy in the state.

About 57 percent of voters approve of the new stricter gun laws, while 39 percent are opposed. The poll also found that 36 percent say the new gun laws went too far, 30 percent say they didn’t go far enough, and 29 percent believe the state got it about right.

The poll also found that voters are divided 47-47 percent on whether they approve or disapprove of a 2012 law that replaces the death penalty with life in prison with no chance of parole. Fifty percent of women approve the new law, while 52 percent of men disapprove.

“Support for the death penalty has dropped 10 points in three years, from a high of 67 percent to a low of 57 percent. Perhaps this is a case of opinion following policy, as Connecticut abolished the death penalty in 2012,” Schwartz said. “As we’ve seen in our past polls on the death penalty, when voters are given the choice of the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole, support for the death penalty drops. When asked the question this way, voters are evenly divided.”