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Wisconsin voters show strong support for this November’s advisory question on establishing a death penalty in Wisconsin for first-degree intentional homicide convictions supported by DNA evidence.
Fifty-four percent of the voters favored the amendment while 37% were opposed to it. These are among the key findings from the most recent survey of 600 likely Wisconsin voters conducted by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and Diversified Research. In this survey, likely Wisconsin voters were asked if they favored or opposed an advisory referendum that would establish a death penalty in Wisconsin for convictions of first-degree intentional homicide if the conviction was supported by DNA evidence.
Support for this issue crossed most demographic groups across the state. The opposition to the death penalty came from some specific groups. Residents of Madison opposed the death penalty by 60% to 31%, as did voters in Southeast Wisconsin by 46% to 45%. Voters who told us they were going to vote for Jim Doyle opposed the death penalty by a 49% to 45% margin. Those saying they supported Mark Green favored the death penalty by 64% to 28%. The margins changed when we got into questions of political identification and ideology. Among Republicans, the margin was 66% in favor to 27% opposed. Among Independents it was favored by a 53% to 36% margin, but among Democrats 50% opposed it, while only 41% supported the death penalty. There were similar gaps based on ideology. Conservatives supported the death penalty by a 64% to 27% margin, while liberals opposed it by a 55% to 35% margin. Among people who said they were middle-of-the-road, 53% favored it, while 38% opposed it.
Finally, there was also an enormous gender gap on this issue. Men favored the death penalty by a 61% to 31% margin, while women supported it by a 47% to 42% margin. This is an issue we have also asked in the past, and it has always been supported by the majority of voters and residents of Wisconsin.