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August 18, 2016

Poll suggests Californians will vote in November 2016 to mend rather than end the death penalty in their state

This new press release from the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley, which is titled "IGS Poll Finds Support for Retaining Death Penalty," suggests that California voters have some strong preferences regarding competing death penalty ballot initiatives.  Here are the interesting details via the main text of the press release:

California voters oppose an effort to abolish the death penalty and strongly support a competing measure that would streamline procedures in capital cases, according to a new poll released today by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Respondents opposed the abolition measure 55.1 percent to 44.9 percent, while three out of four respondents supported the streamlining proposition, the survey found. Since the two measures conflict, if both should pass, the measure receiving more votes would take effect.

The poll used online English-language questionnaires to survey respondents from June 29 to July 18. All respondents were registered California voters, and the responses were then weighted to reflect the statewide distribution of the California population by gender, race/ethnicity, education and age. The sample size for the questions on the two death penalty initiatives was 1,506 respondents for one question and 1,512 for the other.

A stark partisan difference emerged on Proposition 62, which would abolish capital punishment and replace it with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Democrats supported the measure, 55.1 percent to 44.9 percent. Republicans overwhelmingly opposed it, 70.2 percent to 29.8 percent. Independents were also opposed, though by only 60.6 percent to 39.4 percent. By contrast, there was support across partisan lines for Proposition 66, which would streamline procedures in capital cases to speed up the resolution of those cases. Even among Democrats there was strong support (69.7 percent) for the measure, and support was even higher among independents (81.1 percent) and Republicans (85 percent).

A majority (60 percent) of African-Americans favored abolishing the death penalty, but among all other ethnic groups, most respondents opposed that proposal. Support for the death penalty was stronger among older people.

Interestingly, religious differences were reflected in views about abolishing the death penalty, but mostly that difference was related to whether the respondent was or was not religious, rather than to differences among various religious denominations. Among all religious groups there was majority opposition to eliminating the death penalty; only among the self-identified atheists and agnostics did most voters support abolition of capital punishment.

Prior related posts:

August 18, 2016 at 12:10 PM | Permalink


It won't streamline a damn thing. It's bullshit and will probably prolong the process just as badly. Not to mention it is probably unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers. The D.A. behind it is trying to take over the entire state. They get wrongful convictions with the same bullshit persuasion.

Posted by: George | Aug 18, 2016 12:58:57 PM

Proposition 66, The "Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016," is Fool's Gold for Californians

Posted by: George | Aug 18, 2016 1:04:09 PM

Alarcón Advocacy Center
Loyola Law School

California Votes 2016:
An Analysis of the Competing
Death Penalty Ballot Initiatives

This Report concludes that Prop 66’s proposed “fixes” to the current system will
cost millions more than the already expensive death penalty system and will not speed up
executions. In fact, Prop 66 will only make matters worse by creating more delays and
further clogging the state’s over-burdened court system. Prop 66 will add layers of
appeals to a system already facing an insurmountable backlog of decades of death
penalty appeals waiting to be decided.

Loyola Law School
Prop 66 contains other provisions that proponents claim will speed up
executions, such as keeping the lethal injection protocols secret and out of the public’s
purview, exempting them from the Administrative Procedures Act. This and other key
features of Prop 66 will certainly be subject to litigation challenging the provisions on
constitutional and other grounds, should Prop 66 pass, adding yet more delays to death
penalty cases.

The Report further finds that Prop 66 fails to make the constitutional changes
required to deliver the results it promises. At the same time, its proposals are so
convoluted that they are likely to create many new problems that will not only
complicate the administration of the death penalty system, but will also impact and
harm the rest of California’s legal system.

This Report finds that Prop 62, by contrast, is straightforward and transparent.
It replaces the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole, saving the state
$1.5 billion in the next ten years alone. Prop 62 requires inmates to work and increases
the victim compensation rate. Prop 62 ensures that the state never executes an innocent
person, without jeopardizing public safety

Posted by: George | Aug 18, 2016 1:09:46 PM

In practice, they eventually (though this part is not as strong as a general desire for the death penalty) want the state to execute a few people among the thousands possible (death eligible) and hundreds on death row.


You have a number somewhat over 50% supporting the death penalty but looking on as only a tiny number are executed and even that not for years now. The public opinion is noted but telling in itself. Also, as George suggests, there are other factors to weigh to determine if the practice is either constitutional or generally good policy. Public opinion polls probably would show various things now unconstitutional or at least illegal has support. Torture, e.g., gets a range of support, depending on the situation. But, it is allegedly a clear case of something illegal etc.

Posted by: Joe | Aug 18, 2016 3:50:08 PM

So long as the folks Californians elect at the state level are opposed to execution nothing is going to change. If the AG was in favor of execution the federal order halting them over protocol issues would have been challenged at the appeals court and SCOTUS, but instead they accept it because they do not, in fact, desire executions to resume.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Aug 19, 2016 10:07:59 AM

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