AP NEWS

Poll: Likely voters support death penalty

August 15, 2016

Poll results released Sunday by death penalty supporters suggest a majority of Nebraska voters favor repealing the bill that ended capital punishment in the state last year.

In the poll of 600 likely general election voters conducted Aug. 7-10, 47.8 percent said they would definitely vote to keep the death penalty and another 10.5 percent said they probably would vote to keep the death penalty, Nebraskans for the Death Penalty said.

Combined, those favoring a vote to repeal the bill outpaced voters in support of the bill eliminating the death penalty by a 58.3-30.3 percent margin. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percent.

“If the election were held today, Nebraskans would vote in overwhelming numbers to repeal LB268 in order to keep the death penalty,” Don Stenberg, honorary co-chair of Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, said in a news release.

Stenberg is a former Nebraska attorney general and current state treasurer.

The survey by Florida-based Global Marketing Research Services came on the heels of a cable television and radio ad campaign funded by death penalty opponents, the release said.

In a response to the poll, a spokesman for Retain a Just Nebraska said residents of the state are tired of spending millions of dollars on a failed government program.

“This is a flawed poll and should not be viewed as an accurate measurement of how Nebraskans view the death penalty,” Dan Parsons said. “It’s a push poll that misleads Nebraskans into thinking they have no other option than getting rid of the death penalty. When in reality, the question that will appear on the November 8 ballot asks voters if they wish to replace the death penalty with life in prison.

“Our polling and numerous others across the country show that when given that choice, voters chose life in prison.”

Poll respondents included 325 registered Republicans, 187 Democrats and 88 independents, with the party sample and gender makeup of the poll reflecting expected turnout for the general election based on historical voting patterns.

According to the survey, support for the death penalty is strong among men and women, across all of Nebraska’s congressional districts and among members of different political parties.

The Legislature passed LB268 last year over a veto by Gov. Pete Ricketts, but a successful petition drive last summer blocked the law until voters have their say in November.