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Did the Troy Davis Execution Increase Doubt About the DP?

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According to this ABC piece, it did:  "...the country appears to be revisiting its stance on the death penalty, in light of Troy Davis' execution last week."

Readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that the story adduces no evidence to support this statement.  It's simply an article of faith in some quarters that Event X or Study Y always "re-ignites questions about capital punishment," or some such thing.  For example, the title of every article I have ever seen on the DPIC site is roughly, "New survey shows declining support for the death penalty."  I have yet to see a single one that says, "New survey shows increasing support for the death penalty," even though DP support has remained stable or shown occasional slight increases over the last seven or eight years.

Still, given all the massively slanted coverage of the Davis case, it's a fair enough question.  Did his execution decrease DP support?

Well, there's a way to find out:  Ask.  While such an enterprise was apparently too much for ABC, it was not too much for the quite reliable pollster Rasmussen.  The topic sentence of his report is, "The execution of Troy Davis last week for murdering a Georgia policeman prompted controversy here and abroad, but it did little to shift opinions on the death penalty."  Specifically, he finds that support had previously been at between 61%-63%, and is now at 60%, a statistically insignificant difference.  And in Rasmussen, as in every other poll I've seen, DP support remains at better than 2-1. 

5 Comments

Properly, it should have increased the serious doubt about the anti death penalty folks.

Troy Davis &The Innocent Frauds of the anti death penalty lobby
Dudley Sharp, sharpjfa@aol.com

The Troy Davis campaign, like many before it (1), is a simple, blantant fraud, easily uncovered by the most basic of fact checking (1).

The 2010 federal court innocence hearing found:

" . . . Mr. Davis is not innocent: the evidence produced at the hearing on the merits of Mr. Davis's
claim of actual innocence and a complete review of the record in this case does not require the reversal of the jury's judgment that Troy Anthony Davis murdered City of Savannah Police Officer
Mark Allen MacPhail on August 19, 1989." (2)

"Ultimately, while Mr. Davis's new evidence casts some additional, minimal doubt on his conviction, it is largely smoke and mirrors." (2)

"As a body, this evidence does not change the balance of proof that was presented at Mr.
Davis's trial."(2)

"The vast majority of the evidence at trial remains intact, and the new evidence is largely not credible or lacking in probative value." (2)

None of this came as a surprise to anyone who actually followed the case.

1) "Troy Davis: Worldwide anti death penalty deceptions, rightly, failed",
http://homicidesurvivors.com/2011/09/25/troy-davis-worldwide-anti-death-penalty-deceptions-rightly-failed.aspx

2) "Innocence Hearing", ordered by the US Supreme Court, US DISTRICT COURT, in the SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA, SAVANNAH DIV.,RE TROY ANTHONY DAVIS, CASE NO. CV409-130
http://multimedia.savannahnow.com/media/pdfs/DavisRuling082410.pdf

One of my favorite examples of DPIC spin was their report of a Gallup Poll in October 2009. DPIC reported the poll as "Gallup Poll: Support for Death Penalty Remains Near 25-Year Low."

And how did Gallup itself report the same poll?

"In U.S., Two-Thirds Continue to Support Death Penalty: Little change in recent years despite international opposition."

Oh, that just made my day.

The dumbest Dieter moment I can recall is when he argued that those that volunteered for execution meant that death penalty penalty wasn't so bad and that such volunteers argued against death penalty deterrence(1.

From 1973-2002, there have been 820 executions, 97 of which were "volunteers".

Of the 7255 sentenced to death from 1973-2002:

volunteered for execution 1.3%
did not volunteer for execution 98.7%

It's just plain stupid.

My analogy was

children that volunteered to eat asparagus 1.3%
children that did not volunteered to eat asparagus 98.7%

For Dieter, this means children prefer asparagus.

(1) "That is Give Me Death: Rise of ‘Volunteer' Executions May Mean Death Isn't Worst Punishment", Bryan Robinson, abcNEWS, 1/7/03

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