(Updated 11:23 a.m.) From gun control laws to marijuana and the death penalty, Connecticut voters have not swayed far from their previous positions on the issues, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
The poll found 56 percent of voters support the stricter gun laws passed by the legislature in 2013. But that support comes with wide partisan and gender gaps.
Eighty-one percent of Democrats and 54 percent of unaffiliated voters support stricter gun control laws, while 69 percent of Republicans opposed it. Asked if they could still vote for a candidate who disagreed with them on the issue of gun control, 65 percent of voters said they could, while just 27 percent said they couldn’t.
“For a quarter of the population it is a big deal,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Doug Schwartz said. “It certainly could affect the governor’s race.”
He said those who would vote based only on the gun control laws favored the new laws, which bodes well for Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
“Overall, public opinion is on the side of the new gun control laws,” Schwartz said. “It would appear the pro-gun control folks have the advantage on intensity. In that sense, it does seem to be an issue that would favor Gov. Malloy.”
Voters also supported having armed guards in schools. Very few Connecticut schools went this route after the Sandy Hook shooting, but the poll found 49 percent support armed guards, while 44 percent opposed the idea. Support for metal detectors was overwhelming. A total of 82 percent support metal detectors in schools.
The poll also found that Connecticut voters continue to support the death penalty even though the state repealed it in 2012. The poll found voters support the death penalty 58 percent, but remain divided with 47 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving when asked if they would support replacing it with life in prison without parole.
“Despite the botched execution in Oklahoma, we haven’t seen any change in support for the death penalty in Connecticut: 58 percent still support the death penalty, but are divided when given a choice between the death penalty and life without parole,” Schwartz said.
Connecticut voters maintained their disapproval of the bingo-style game of keno. The poll found 67 percent oppose bringing keno into the state. The legislature decided to repeal the game after including it as a last-minute measure to balance the state budget.
Ninety percent of voters approve of medical marijuana. Connecticut’s dispensaries will be up and running this summer. As for allowing people, who don’t have medical conditions, to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, the poll found 52 percent of voters support it.
When that question is broken down by demographics the poll found that 18- to 29-year-old voters support the idea 80-20 percent, while voters over 65 years old are opposed, 61-34 percent. Men back recreational marijuana 54-42 percent, with women divided 49-48 percent.
Forty-seven percent of those surveyed admitted trying marijuana.
Connecticut was the first state to heed President Barack Obama’s call to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and it’s an issue Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is hoping will boost his re-election chances.
The poll found 72 percent of voters support increasing the minimum wage. Ninety-four percent of Democrats support it and 70 percent of unaffiliated voters. Republicans are divided with 47 percent in favor and 50 percent opposed.
“Connecticut was the first state in the nation to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and nearly three quarters of voters back this increase,” Schwartz said.