In N.C., support for the death penalty

The State Senate has approved a bill that would effectively restart executions, ending a de facto moratorium since 2006.

The News & Observer, in its coverage of the Senate’s repeal of the Racial Justice Act, observed: “It comes at a time when public support for executions seems to be waning: No jury has sentenced anyone to death in more than a year.”

That’s one measurement. Another is the Elon University Poll. The April results show that 61.2 percent favor the death penalty for murder vs. 30.1 percent that oppose it.

Not surprisingly, the differences of opinion are stark when political party is revealed. Eighty-six percent of Republicans responded that they favored the death penalty for murder compared with 62 percent of Independents and 44 percent of Democrats.

It also separates whites (69 percent in favor) and African Americans (41 percent in favor).

Interestingly, only 48.4 percent of respondents said they feel the death penalty is applied fairly vs. 38.6 percent who think it is applied unfairly and 12.8 percent who answered “don’t know.”

There are currently 152 inmates on death row in N.C.

— John Robinson

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