Friday, June 08, 2018

Why has death penalty support dropped? - Q & A 4

Why has death penalty support dropped?   - Q & A 4
Dudley Sharp

Q - Why has death penalty support dropped?
There appears to be 3 main reasons:
1) Media bias is so strong against the death penalty and objective reporting seems to have all but disappeared, as detailed (1)  and most folks get their death penalty information from the media. Basic.
2) Support "MAY" have dropped -  Picking & Choosing Polls
--  a 2013 poll showing 86% death penalty support, the highest I have ever seen, was picked up by no media outlets - None - even though the pollster, Angus-Ried, is very well known and was the #1 most accurate pollster in the 2012 presidential election.(2). AR got the message and stopped doing their regular death penalty poll.
--  Gallup polls, always, has multiple questions and answers, different polls, within their annual death penalty poll and the media only reports on the smallest death penalty support response, when other answers show about a 10% spike in death penalty support, as here:
October 29, 2013, Gallup finds:
60% death penalty support, their lowest in 40 years (1, fn3).
70% death penalty support was found from another Gallup question, within the same poll (1, fn4).
--  When providing the "sometimes" answer to the standard "do you support the death penalty for murder?" question death penalty support rises, dramatically. That is, rarely, used, anymore. It is interesting, as that is where you will get the most accurate answers, because we only use it rarely and sometimes, as the statutes dictate.
We know, as do the pollsters, that the "yes" or "no" answers end up increasing death penalty opposition, by excluding the "sometimes" answer.
--- An excellent example of this is provided by Gallup:
When Gallup asked about truly "death penalty eligible" murders, as with Timothy McVeigh’s mass murders in the Oklahoma City bombing, his execution was supported by 81%, while 16% opposed (Gallup 5/02/01). (3)

With nearly identical polling dates (Gallup, 6/10/01), Gallup found 65% general support for executions for all murders, with 28% opposed, when excluding the "sometimes" option. (3)

Those Gallup polls found that death penalty opposition fell by 43% and support rose by 25% , when comparing polls of a specific death penalty eligible crime, those with a "sometimes" response option (more support. less opposition) to the category of all murders, excluding a "sometimes" answer  (less support, more opposition, still majority support), which is what Gallup does. (3)
Quinnipiac polling has a decade or so of polling with "sometimes" and "no" answers, reflecting those same outcomes.
3)    Very important -  These  are, rarely, if ever, shown by the media:
--   95% Death Penalty Support by Loved Ones of Capital Murder Victims, from non scientific polling (4)
--   92% of police chiefs support the death penalty (5)
You almost, never, see the 92%, anywhere, because the study was funded by an anti death penalty group, The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).
What we, almost, always see from the media and other snti death penalty folks, from that study is this:
"Police chiefs rank the death penalty last as a way of reducing violent crime, placing it behind curbing drug abuse, more police. "
Never is that analyzed in media.
Of course the death penalty is last at "reducing violent crime". It has to be. Capital murder is, by far, the smallest component of all violent crimes and, as a result of that, any deterrent and incapacitation effects of the death penalty/executions will, necessarily, be the smallest for all other violent crimes and there sanctions, as detailed and 19 states don't even have the death penalty.  
To show some perspective:
There have been about 8400 death sentences and 1400 executions since 1973.
Just today, right now, there are about 6, 000, 000  persons under criminal justice "control", meaning in jail, in prison, and under some sort of supervision, parole or probation.  What do you think that total number would be, for all violent crimes, from 1973-today -  20-30 million?
Per year, drug abuse affects about 40 million Americans and costs about $740 billion per year (6).
The police support the death penalty because it is just in some cases, just as the support for other sanction.
1) There are, at least, two ways to check media bias.
a) Look at stories that had weeks and months to fact check/vet, as here:
Courts, states put death penalty on life support
b) Then look at the pro death penalty side of the story and reflect how often you find a balance in death penalty stories - almost never.
The Death Penalty: Justice & Saving More Innocents

2) 86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013
World Support Remains High
95% of Murder Victim's Family Members Support Death Penalty
3)   US Death Penalty Support at 80%: World Support Remains High
4)   95% Death Penalty Support by Loved Ones of Capital Murder Victims
5) figure 5, pg 15, , THE FRONT LINE: Law Enforcement Views on the Death Penalty , The Death Penalty Information Center,
6) Drug Abuse Statistics
Trends and Statistics, National Institute of Drug Abuse