Poll shows support for death penalty declining in California

California
In this handout photo provided by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, staff members dismantle the death row gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison on March 13, 2019, following Gov. Gavin Newsom's moratorium on the death penalty.

In this handout photo provided by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, staff members dismantle the death row gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison on March 13, 2019, following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty.

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Support for capital punishment continues to dwindle among Californians, with more voters favoring abolishing the death penalty, but the issue remains so politically volatile that the prospects of a repeal are uncertain, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

Of the Californians surveyed, 44% said they would vote to repeal the death penalty and 35% favored allowing executions, with 21% undecided. The findings could help energize support to place a constitutional amendment on the 2022 statewide ballot to ban executions, a proposal under consideration in the California Legislature.

Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll, said having such a large pool of undecided voters makes it difficult to gauge how a death penalty repeal would fare on the ballot. In the past, death penalty proponents have waged effective campaigns focused on the crimes committed by death row inmates and swung votes in their favor.

“Campaigns matter on an issue like this,” DiCamillo said. “It can rouse people who say well, you know, we should have some kind of retribution that is fitting of the crime.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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