Dudley Sharp

RE: April 29, 2013 Angus Reid Poll (1) – THE POLL YOU NEVER HEARD OF

86% death penalty support (1), the highest I have ever located (2)

22% of the 86% finding the death penalty “always appropriate” (1), the highest I have ever located (2)
64% of the 86% finding the death penalty “sometimes appropriate” (1)
9% finding the death penalty “never appropriate” (1), the lowest I have ever located (2)

78% death penalty support was found from another Angus Reid question, within the same poll (5).

Yet, October 29, 2013, just 6 months later,  Gallup finds:

60% death penalty support, their lowest in 40 years (3).

70% death penalty support was found from another Gallup question, within the same poll (4).


Gallup had 371  Google search hits within three days of their news release (6)

Angus Reid had 0 – no one carried it – Zero (6)

You never heard of the 86% (or 78%) from Angus Reid, because the media didn’t want you to (6).

Everyone heard about the 60% Gallup poll, because the media wanted you to (6).


Angus Reid was #1, Gallup #26, with the most recent polling company comparisons (7). 

The Angus Reid Poll provides an accurate measure of death penalty support, with an answer of  “sometimes appropriate”, which Gallup  does not (1&3).

When Gallup does allow for the “sometimes appropriate” response, as with their death penalty support poll for mass murderer/bomber Timothy McVeigh, support goes to 81%, showing how consistent support is – 80-86% – when, properly using the “sometimes appropriate” response.


A separate question (5), within the Angus Reid poll, with a negative inference bias, against the death penalty, had these results:

78% death penalty support
16% death penalty opposition

Preference Poll from same Angus Reid poll:

LWOP vs the Death Penalty

59% prefer the death penalty over a life sentence, which is preferred by 25% —  the death penalty preferred 240% more.

This is a preference poll, not an exclusion poll. 

For example, 84% may support the death penalty, and wish to retain it, with 25% of the 84% having a life sentence preference, and 59% of the 84% having a  preference for the death penalty, with both groups, still supporting the death penalty at 84%, with the same respondents.

Although Quinnapiac and Gallup claim this shows lower support for the death penalty, support dropping form 84% to 59%, there is zero evidence to support their claim (2) . Why would death penalty support, suddenly drop 25 points, from the same respondents? It wouldn’t.If 95% support LWOP and if the preference poll shows that 25% prefer LWOP, does that mean that LWOP support suddenly dropped 70%, with the same respondents, at the same time?

Of course not, but that is Gallup and Quinnapiac’s illogicWould Gallup and Quinnapiac even make such a ridiculous claim with LWOP? Of course not. That is why their interpretation, that a preference poll shows reduced support for the death penalty simply appears to be their wishful bias against the death penalty and nothing else.

Does Gallup have a bias supportive of the anti death penalty movement? 

Additional evidence:

Gallup speculates “The current era of lower support may be tied to death penalty moratoriums in several states beginning around 2000 after several dea
th-row inmates were later proven innocent of the crimes of which they were convicted. More recently, since 2006, six states have repealed death penalty laws outright, including Maryland this year.” (3)

With no proof, Gallup parrots and speculates the exact line that anti death penalty folks use, in contradiction to both the truth and the polls.

There is a 70-83% error rate in the anti death penalty claims of “innocence” or “exonerated” (8).

Let’s see what the polls say:

“A Nov. 2010 poll showed that a large majority, 81%, believes that innocents have been executed and, with that same group, responding to the “general” death penalty question, found 83% death penalty support and 13% opposition.” (2). 

“That shows no evidence that the US population has turned away from executions based upon the, largely, misleading innocence claims by anti death penalty folks (2).”

I would be surprised if Gallup was unaware of those results.

Gallup even parrots another standard anti death penalty error, that “six states have repealed the death penalty outright . . .”. New York State did not repeal their statute, at all. The New York Court of Appeals found the statute unconstitutional.

Gallup didn’t even fact check this well known anti death penalty error. The just bought it and used it.

The reason those 5 states were capable of repeal, had nothing to do with the false anti death penalty claims, parroted by Gallup,  but was because those 5 states had a Democratic Governor, with a Democratic majority in the legislature,  at the same time the majority of their citizens supported the death penalty.

Gallup, reality is better than biased speculation. 


1) Support for Death Penalty in U.S. Surges After Boston Bombing, Angus-Reid Global, April 29, 2013, 


Based upon the question: “Which of these statements comes closest to your own point of view about the death penalty?” Angus Reid

86% death penalty support, totaled from
22% the death penalty is “always appropriate”   plus
64% the death penalty is “sometimes appropriate”

9% the death penalty is “never appropriate”

Benefit: The question allows reality based replies for those who 1) sometimes support the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crimes,  (2) those who always support the death penalty and (3) those who never support the death penalty, no matter the crimes – the true for and against positions.

These should be the death penalty answers we are looking for, from the question:

Do you support the death penalty for murder/capital murders?:


2) US Death Penalty Support at 80%: World Support Remains High
95% of Murder Victim’s Family Members Support Death Penalty

3)  U.S. Death Penalty Support Lowest in More Than 40 Years: Sixty percent of Americans favor death penalty for convicted murderers, by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup, October 29, 2013, itle=”http://www.gallup.com/poll/165626/death-penalty-support-lowest-years.aspx” style=”color: rgb(153, 153, 153); text-decoration: none; “>http://www.gallup.com/poll/165626/death-penalty-support-lowest-years.aspx

based upon the question:  “Are you in favor of the death penalty for a person convicted of murder?”. 

Yes 60%

No   35%

Problems: For most, the answer would not be a “yes or no”, but a “yes and no”.  Most individuals support the death penalty “sometimes”, as Angus Reid measures, but Gallup does not. Gallup fails to give a “sometimes” option, which suppresses the support percentage and expands the against percentage, because their question doesn’t allow for that consideration. 

As a rule, established with all other polls,  if you avoid the sometimes and never answers, you won’t receive the answers that reflect true death penalty support or opposition, because the vast majority of folks “sometimes” support the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the murder, just as we do with all sanctions, the true support position, and a minority never supports the death penalty, regardless of how cruel the murders and/or the number of victims, the true opposition position, both of which are measured in the Angus Reid poll and neither of which are measured in the Gallup poll.

Reality also conflicts with the Gallup poll, because about 90% of murders are not death penalty eligible, reflecting why the “sometimes” answer provides more accuracy, with the advantage of also reflecting reality, with the Gallup question producing less accurate answers, in conflict with reality.

Gallup is aware of this (2).

Gallup confirms this, when they polled for a specific, horrendous, capital  crime, allowing for the “sometimes” and “never” answers, within their poll about death penalty support for mass murderer, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, showing 81% support (2), reflecting the “sometimes” answer , with 16% opposition, reflecting the “never” answer.

Not surprisingly, this mirrors, almost exactly, poll results from Angus Reid and  Quinnipiac:

82% support and 16% opposition  is the average of Qinnipiac polling since 2000 (2) , using those same combinations with always, sometimes and never responses

as with Angus Reid

83%  support, 13% opposed (11/09/10)  (2)

80%  support, 12% opposed (10/4/11)  (2)
All of which support that the sometimes and never responses provide for a more accurate poll.
The best way to get clear answers, is to ask clear questions,  which for the death penalty are:

Do you support the death penalty for murder?

“Always” could be left out, as they will be found in the sometimes response, but is of interest, in contrast to the “never” answer. 

4)  Gallup: “In your opinion, is the death penalty imposed too often, about the right amount, or not often enough.” 

“Not often enough” (44%) and “about the right amount” (26%) totaled 70%.

Sharp: This rise in support is based upon a consideration of circumstance: “sometimes”.

5)  Angus Reid “As you may know, many countries around the world have abolished the death penalty, but not the United States. All things considered, do you support or oppose the possibility of prosecutors relying on the death penalty for mur
der cases in the United States?”

Sharp: This provides for the respondent to consider circumstances “possibility”, providing the “sometimes” answer. With the negative bias, I am surprised at the 78% support.

Angus could have asked: Alternate question, with a positive bias, instead: “As you know, the majority of countries around the world still have the death penalty, as does the US. All things considered, do you support or oppose the possibility of prosecutors relying on the death penalty for murder cases in the United States?”

6) Gallup had 371  Google search hits within the first three days of their news release (a), Angus Reid had 0 (b).

a)  I did 1 search using Google, for the  first three days of the Gallup News Release
I got 371 hits within the three day search period of   10/29-31/2013, for the search, which was: 
poll “death penalty” gallup 60%
search conducted 6:10 am CST 11/01/2013

b) I did 1 search using Google, for the first 3 days of the Angus Reid News Release
I got 0 hits within the three day period of 4 /29 –  5/1/2013, for the search, which was: 
poll “death penalty” angus reid 78%

Gallup suggested and presented 20 hits, none of which referred to the death penalty poll.
search conducted 6:41 am CST 11/01/2013

I didn’t present an 86% poll result search, because Angus Reid, oddly, never used the 86%, in either their News Release or report, but broke down the numbers, as I reported, which showed 86% support.

My informed speculation is that AR was afraid of the 86% support result, as the media is abandoning use of AR death penalty polls, as detailed, because the anti death penalty media doesn’t like the AR results, which in AR’s previous polls were similar – 81 and 83%, which AR highlighted, as opposed to repressing, as they did with the 86%, even though they are the same polling methods – equals with the 81-83% support polls –  as opposed to the 78%, highlighted in the April 2013 poll, with that different question and response, secondary, in those two prior AR polls.

7)   11/10/2012    A Daily Kos blogger reworked the Fordham study (below) , using updated data, and found.
Angus-Reid #1
Gallup #26

The final tallies from the 2012 presidential election proved the Daily Kos  blogger correct.
11/7/2012  The Fordham review found
Angus-Reid #11
Gallup #24

8) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy
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One thought on “86% US Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever? April 2013

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