Sunday, September 30, 2012

LA TIMES: Prop 36 Leads, Prop 34 Lags

The Los Angeles Times has released polling on the two criminal justice-related ballot measures on the 2012 ballot in California which demonstrates that Proposition 34 is unlikely to pass while Proposition 36 is very likely to do so. Prop. 34 is a measure to abolish the death penalty in California and convert all death sentences to life-in-prison-without-parole while Prop. 36 while reform the 1994 three-strikes ballot measure to mandate that the third strike must be a serious or violent felony.

In a poll conducted of registered voters from September 17-23, 2012 with a margin of error of ±2.9 percentage points, the results show that 51% are likely to vote No on Prop. 34 while 38% are likely to vote yes with 11% saying they "don't know" how they'll vote. On Proposition 36, an astonishing 66% say that they will vote Yes while only 20% say they will vote No with 14% saying they "don't know."
The poll results come as voters ponder a pair of ballot measures that, if approved, would make dramatic changes to the state's criminal justice system.
Support for an initiative that aims to replace capital punishment with life in prison without parole is trailing 38% to 51%, the poll found. But that gap narrows to a statistical dead heat when voters learn that Proposition 34 also requires convicted killers to work while in prison, directs their earnings to their victims and earmarks $100 million for police to solve murders and rapes.
Despite voters' ambivalence over capital punishment, a ballot measure seeking to amend the three-strikes law is attracting strong support from a broad cross section, including conservatives. Proposition 36 takes aim at what critics of three strikes call its unfairest feature by changing the law so that offenders whose third strikes were relatively minor, such as shoplifting or drug possession, could no longer be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Last week I reported on the results from a Field Poll which showed that the No votes on Proposition 34 was a plurality (45%) but that the difference was within the margin of error, with 42% saying they wanted to vote Yes to abolish the death penalty.

It will be interesting to see if either one of Prop. 34 or 36 actually passes on election day. I know I will be voting yes on both measures and I hope everyone I know does as well!

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