For Immediate Release
Monday, September 14, 2015
Contact: Stacy Anderson, 402-525-4679 firstname.lastname@example.org
New Poll: In the wake of Holmes and Lewis verdicts, 62% of Coloradans now prefer a sentence of life in prison over the death penalty; Large majority believes an execution is unlikely in next 10 years
Voters also show an increased interest in replacing capital punishment with life imprisonment
Denver, Colorado— A poll released today shows that 62% of Coloradans now prefer a sentence of life in prison over the death penalty, and 72% believe that it is somewhat or definitely unlikely that there will be an execution in Colorado in the next 10 years. Additionally, the poll found a 16-point increase in support for replacing the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison without parole in the wake of the Holmes and Lewis verdicts. The rapid erosion in support for the death penalty has occurred since Quinnipiac last asked Colorado voters a similar question in July. The latest poll found 42.9% favored replacing the death penalty with life without parole, while 47.2% wanted to keep it, a difference of just 4.3 points.
View the full results here: http://www.betterpriorities.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Final-PPP-Poll-Better-Priorities-Initiative.pdf
“This poll shows that Coloradans have grown weary of this wasteful government program that prolongs victims’ suffering, provides little to no deterrent effect, and ultimately yields no executions,” said Stan Garnett, District Attorney for the 20th Judicial District. “As Coloradans continue to have this statewide conversation about the death penalty, they are concluding they can live without it.”
These findings come on the heels of the state’s two highest profile death penalty cases in many years. In both cases, the death-qualified juries determined that life in prison without the possibility of parole was the appropriate sentence for the perpetrators instead of death by lethal injection. The juries’ rejection of the death penalty in both the Aurora theatre shooting and the Fero’s Bar stabbing fall in line with national trends that show a marked decrease in the number of death sentences handed down by juries, which reached a 40-year low nationwide in 2014.
Garnett went on to say, “As a District Attorney who has the responsibility of managing a large office of lawyers and staff, I always focus on what is efficient and what keeps my community safe. The reality is that the death penalty is wasteful and does nothing to make our communities safer. Tough and focused prosecutors across Colorado are coming to the same conclusion.”
The poll also found that only 5% of voters said that the death penalty was the most important issue when deciding on their vote for Colorado State Legislator, compared to 35% who indicated it was jobs and the economy. More than two-thirds of respondents also said they were likely to vote for someone who held a different perspective on the death penalty from themselves.
The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling on September 8-9, 2015 and has a margin of error of +/-4.2%. The survey included 535 Colorado voters. It was commissioned by Better Priorities Initiative, a Colorado-based group that is working to educate voters about the death penalty.
For more information, or to speak with Stan Garnett or Better Priorities Initiative, please contact Stacy Anderson at 402-525-4679 or Stacy@betterpriorities.org.
Better Priorities Initiative is a campaign dedicated to ending the death penalty in Colorado. We believe that the resources and money saved from ending capital punishment should be directed towards better priorities for the state of Colorado.