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Courts and Crime

Ohioans favor the death penalty unless they have options
Quinnipiac Poll says life with-without parole is increasingly an option

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
The execution of Dennis McGuire with a combination of drugs never tried before in the U.S. has spurred increasing debate over the death penalty.
Courtesy of State of Ohio
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Ohioans strongly support the death penalty, but far less so when a jury has other options. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the latest results of the Quinnipiac Poll.

LISTEN: Ohioans and the death penalty

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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.

40. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?


                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+


Favor                68%    80%    55%    72%    75%    62%    65%    71%    68%    67%

Oppose               26     15     38     24     22     28     29     24     26     23

DK/NA                 6      5      8      5      3     10      6      5      6     10



41. Which punishment do you prefer for people convicted of murder; the death penalty, life in prison with no chance of parole, or life in prison with a chance of parole?


                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+


Death penalty        47%    56%    34%    52%    51%    43%    38%    52%    50%    42%

Life/No parole       36     31     44     33     30     42     39     34     34     39

Life/Chance parole   12      8     17     10     13     10     19     11      8     13

DK/NA                 5      5      5      5      6      5      4      3      7      7



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