Uncategorized | 12:21 pm | March 10, 2011 | By Antonia Woodford

Poll shows Connecticut voters support death penalty

A majority of Connecticut voters support the death penalty, the use of medical marijuana and the sale of liquor in the state on Sundays, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Coming just a few days after a public hearing of the Judiciary Committee on bills that would end capital punishment, the poll found that 67 percent of Connecticut voters favor the death penalty, compared to 28 percent who do not.

Support for the death penalty in Connecticut has been rising in surveys ever since the July 2007 Cheshire murders, a press release of the Quinnipiac poll said. In early 2005, voters preferred life imprisonment to the death penalty by 49 percent to 37 percent.

“Historically, voters favor the death penalty about 2-1 when they are asked a simple yes- no question,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said in the press release.

“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.”

Schwartz continued: “In Connecticut, the Cheshire home invasion murders appear to have changed that. Now voters back the death penalty no matter how we ask the question, but by a smaller margin, when they have the life without parole option.”

The poll also found very strong support for the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, with 79 percent of voters favoring it and 17 percent opposed. Sixty-five percent of voters supported decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

A majority of respondents – 66 percent – also said liquor stores should be allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays.

All three issues that voters were surveyed about have been discussed during the current state legislative session. Governor Dannel Malloy has said in previous statements that he supports a prospective repeal of the death penalty and would also sign a bill legalizing Sunday alcohol sales.

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