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A Prop. 66 Landslide?

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The Institute for Social Research at Sacramento State U. has this poll of 622 likely California voters surveyed October 7-13.

Proposition 66 would aim to speed up the death penalty court process in California. For example, it would require the superior court to review initial petitions, increase the number of available attorneys to accept those appeals, and allow condemned inmates to be housed at any state prison.

Do you plan to vote 'YES' to change these death penalty court procedures, or 'NO' to make no changes to existing procedures?

51%      Yes (1)
20         No (2)
29         Undecided/Don't Know (8)
Proposition 66 "yes" is ahead of "no" by 20% or more across all party IDs, both white and non-white voters, all education levels, both sexes, all income levels but the lowest, and all age groups but the youngest.  In the low-income group, yes is ahead 40-32.  Among 18-25s, yes is ahead 31-23 with a whopping 46% undecided.

None of this is reason to get complacent, though.  As noted in a previous post, polling of propositions is not as well-established a science as polling of candidates.

Here are the results on the death penalty repeal, Prop. 62:

Proposition 62 would replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and apply retroactively to existing death sentences.

Do you plan to vote 'YES' to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or 'NO' to make no changes to the death penalty?

37%      Yes (1)
45         No (2)
18         Undecided/Don't Know (8)

Comparing the crosstabs of the two propositions produces a few head-scratchers.  Democrats have a plurality in favor of both propositions.  The young'uns had the weakest support of any group for 66, yet they have the strongest opposition of any group against 62:  22% yes, 55% no, 22% duh.  Go figure.  So although the two opposing campaigns urge yes on one and no on the other, a significant number of voters may vote yes on both or no on both.

But not all the news is good.  Here are the results for Gov. Brown's Jailbreak Initiative:

Proposition 57 would change criminal sentencing laws to increase parole opportunities for prisoners convicted of non-violent felonies and give them more chances to earn credits for good behavior. It would also require youth offenders to get a hearing in juvenile court before being tried as an adult.

Do you plan to vote 'YES' to make these criminal justice changes, or 'NO' to make no changes?

61%        Yes (1)
16           No (2)
23           Undecided/Don't Know (8)

Wording matters.  The wording does not inform the voter that "prisoners convicted of non-violent felonies" includes those with violent priors and many with convictions for crimes most people would consider violent, e.g., aggravated assault.  Can the voters be educated in time?  It's looking grim.

1 Comment

Voters on Prop 57 in California are being sold the same snake oil that voters nationwide are being sold about early release from federal sentences. What is getting released is the criminal, not the crime. Therefore the relevant information is about the criminal, not (so much) about just the crime.

The great majority of felons are repeat customers. As recidivism statistics unarguably show, what you're going to get with early release is more crime faster.

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