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Cal. Field Poll on DP: 68-27

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The Field Poll shows that opinion among California voters on whether to do away with the death penalty is essentially unchanged over the last decade, presently at 68-27.

A very badly worded question that implies the respondent must choose a single punishment for all first-degree murders shows a plurality choosing life imprisonment over the death penalty, 48-40.  I would say life imprisonment myself, if the choice were really so constrained.  But of course it is not.

On the two questions asked, California voters are nearly identical to Connecticut voters surveyed by the Quinnipiac Poll, noted here.  Quinnipiac went on to ask a third question that reflects much better the actual policy choice:

"Which statement comes closest to your point of view? (A) All persons convicted of murder should get the death penalty. (B) No one convicted of murder should get the death penalty. (C) Whether or not someone convicted of murder gets the death penalty should depend on the circumstances of the case." 

When asked the correct question, 83% said either "all" or "it depends" and only 16% said "no one."  That is the true measure of support.  It is most unfortunate that Field did not ask California voters the correct question.

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