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View Diary: Troy Davis, a defender's perspective (99 comments)

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  •  Polls: what question do they ask? (2+ / 0-)
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    smarty jones, Joe Hills Ghost

    Darmok, I went to the Pew poll you gave us the link for. The question they asked was do you support or oppose the death penalty? I think that's the most common question.

    A huge number of people in the U.S. believe that somebody convicted of first degree murder will most likely be released in a few years. They think the maximum sentence is about 20 years and the person will be paroled after serving a third or a half of that time.

    They believe this even when they live in one of the death penalty states (about 34) that have an alternative sentence life without parole. (States without the death penalty almost all have the life without parole possibility, too.)

    If pollsters were to ask about the two alternatives, death penalty or life without parole, they might get different numbers.

    •  Good point; here's an 11/2010 nationwide (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Hills Ghost

      poll that did just that--provided alternatives, instead of the simplistic "for or against."  Suddenly, the seemingly solid support for the death penalty looks substantially mushier:

      (Nov. 16, 2010, Washington, D.C.)  The Death Penalty Information Center released the results of one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted of Americans’ views on the death penalty. A national poll of 1,500 registered voters conducted by Lake Research Partners shows growing support for alternatives to the death penalty compared with previous polls. A clear majority of voters (61%) would choose a punishment other than the death penalty for murder, including life with no possibility of parole and with restitution to the victim’s family (39%), life with no possibility of parole (13%), or life with the possibility of parole (9%).

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