Poll: Ohioans Support Capital Punishment

Feb 20, 2014

A Quinnipiac University poll shows Ohioans strongly support the death penalty, but support declines when a jury has other options.

M.L. Schultze of member station WKSU in Kent reports.

Better than two thirds of those responding to the poll favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder. And – though the percentages vary—that’s spread across Republicans, Democrats, men, women and all age groups.

But the picture changes considerably when the pollsters provided other options. Then, less than half picked death as the preferred option, equal with those who picked life with or without a chance for parole.

Ohio’s death penalty has grown increasingly controversial. The then-state senator and now Supreme Court justice Paul Pfeifer, who reintroduced the death penalty in Ohio, has become one of its chief critics. He says it’s been applied too broadly and too unevenly.

A Supreme Court panel is reviewing its implementation. And the execution last month of murderer Dennis McGuire using an experimental drug combination has raised a debate internationally.