Death-penalty measure's support jumps
A ballot measure to repeal California's death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole has gained support in the last week and leads by 45 to 38 percent among likely voters in the final Field Poll before Tuesday's election
The poll, conducted Oct. 25-30, was the first to show a lead for Proposition 34, which had trailed 42 to 45 percent in the last survey in mid-September. Polling also found that a majority agreed with one of Prop. 34's major premises - that the death penalty is more expensive than life without parole - and a plurality said innocent people are executed "too often."
Some other recent statewide polls have reported Prop. 34 trailing by as much as seven percentage points. But Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said his organization's new survey was more up-to-date and found that the measure's margin of support had widened by six percentage points in a single week. …
…Yes on 34 campaign director Natasha Minsker said the poll results indicate voters are getting the message.
"When they hear our message and they hear the facts, they are much more likely to support the initiative," she said. "I think it really shows that the voters are learning the death penalty is all cost and no benefit."
… Sponsors of Prop. 34 have stressed the severity of a life sentence with no hope of release and made the cost of the death penalty their leading issue - $130 million a year more than a life-without-parole system, according to the Legislature's fiscal analyst, a figure that opponents dispute.
The new Field Poll found, for the first time, that a strong majority - 53 to 31 percent - agreed that the death penalty was more expensive than life without parole, a question that produced an even split a year ago.