A national poll of 1,500 registered voters shows growing support for alternatives to the death penalty, the Death Penalty Information Center said today. A majority of voters (61 percent) would choose a punishment other than the death penalty for murder, including life with no possibility of parole and with restitution to the victim's family (39 percent), life with no possibility of parole (13 percent), or life with the possibility of parole (9 percent), said the center, which opposes capital punishment. The survey was done in May by Lake Research Partners. Another survey reported last week that 83 percent of Americans support punishing homicide with the death penalty, but that poll did not offer respondents a choice of sanctions.
Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said cost was a very or somewhat convincing argument against the death penalty. Voters ranked emergency services, creating jobs, police and crime prevention, schools and libraries, public health care services, and roads and transportation as more important budget priorities than the death penalty, said the survey. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed would favor replacing the death penalty with life with no possibility of parole if the money saved were used to fund crime prevention programs.