Californians Support the Death Penalty — and Newsom’s Moratorium on Executions: Poll

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Source: UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll / Los Angeles Times
Source: UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll / Los Angeles Times

Californians narrowly support Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on death row executions but they oppose abolishing the death penalty outright, a new poll shows.

The findings offer some political affirmation for the Democratic governor who, after calling the death penalty immoral and unjust, stirred up controversy in March by issuing temporary reprieves to more than 700 inmates on California’s death row.

Conducted for the Los Angeles Times by UC Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies, the poll found that 52% of California voters backed Newsom’s decision to grant a blanket reprieve to all condemned inmates on death row, compared with 48% who opposed the governor’s action. The partisan divide was substantial, with 72% of Democrats supporting the moratorium and 85% of Republicans against it.

But the survey also shows that a majority of Californians support capital punishment. Just over 61% of California voters said they supported keeping the death penalty as a “possible punishment for serious crimes,” compared with 39% who said it should be abolished, the poll found.

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