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Predictable DPIC Poll on the Death Penalty

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The Death Penalty Information Center has announced its poll on (what else?) the death penalty.  To anyone familiar with DPIC, it will come as no surprise, as Doug Berman notes at SL&P, "that this latest poll was conduct in a way designed to prompt anti-death-penalty responses."

For example, they ask people which of four statements they are agree with, all beginning, "The penalty for murder should be ...."

Note the singular.  One penalty for all murders.  Should we be surprised that only 1/3 of the people think all murderers should be executed?  Of course not.

Later, they go on to read the people "facts" about the death penalty that are not facts or that are misleading half truths.  They drag out the tired, discredited "innocence list," and state as a "fact" that "Since 1973, 138 people have been released from death row after being exonerated of their crimes."  We have been through that many times.

Then there is, "Over the past 30 years, states in the South have accounted for 80 percent of all executions and have the highest murder rate. States in the Northeast have accounted for less than 1 percent of all executions and have the lowest murder rate."  The implication, of course, is the false assumption that this correlation proves causation, and the Southern states would have lower murder rates if they got rid of their death penalties.

Uh huh.  The City of Chicago has a lot of snow plows and significant problems with snow on the streets.  The City of Miami has no snow plows and no snow problems.  Therefore, Chicago should get rid of its snow plows so it will be more like Miami.  That argument is just as valid as the DPIC's argument.

File this poll in the trash can.

Update:  Now this is disappointing.  Warren Richey in the Christian Science Monitor reports the DPIC's poll uncritically, without noting the problems.  The only people quoted are Dieter and his hired pollster, Celinda Lake.  Warren is usually sharper than that.  Well, at least he noted that DPIC is "an antideath-penalty organization."

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