Far more Washingtonians oppose death penalty than rest of U.S.

Jul 13, 2018, 1:36 PM
death penalty...
An inmate's view of the interior of the lethal injection facility. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Washingtonians prefer people convicted of murder are sentenced to life in prison, rather than the death penalty, according to a new poll commissioned by the Northwest Progressive Institute.

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A total of 69 percent of people surveyed said they preferred that people convicted of murders spend life in prison without parole. Many favored additional punishment that included a work requirement and paying restitution.

Twenty-four percent prefer the death penalty, according to the Progressive Institute. While 8 percent were “not sure” what they preferred.

A total of 675 likely state voters were surveyed between May 22-23.

“What we found most striking about the responses were that not a single subsample within the survey favored the death penalty … not even Donald Trump voters,” a statement from the institute reads.

According to the institute, 46 percent of those surveyed who voted for President Trump prefer to keep the penalty. Eighty-two percent of Democrats prefer life in prison.

“What this tells us is that there is broad agreement across the ideological spectrum for getting rid of the practice of putting convicted murders to death,” the institute says.

National support increases

The results are quite different from the country as a whole.

In June, the Pew Research Center reported that public support of the death penalty increased to 54 percent for people convicted of murder. That was up after a four-decade low in 2016.

Two years ago, 49 percent of the country favored the death penalty, according to the Pew Research Center. That was the lowest level of support in surveys that date back to the 1970s.

Nearly 80 percent of Republicans nationwide favor the death penalty, with 52 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats OK with capital punishment.

Moratorium on the death penalty

While Gov. Jay Inslee is in office, nobody convicted of murder in Washington state will be executed. In 2014, Inslee announced a moratorium on capital punishment.

“Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility. And in death penalty cases, I’m not convinced equal justice is being served,” Inslee said at the time. “The use of the death penalty in this state is unequally applied, sometimes dependent on the budget of the county where the crime occurred.”

The effort to abolish the death penalty in Washington state failed, however. Senate Bill 6052 was the most successful attempt in years, but still failed to garner enough support.

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Far more Washingtonians oppose death penalty than rest of U.S.