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Majority of California Voters Support Death Penalty, Study Says

Californians have consistently supported the death penalty for the past five decades.

A study released Thursday found that Californians still have strong support for the death penalty.

More than two-thirds of California voters favor keeping the death penalty, a finding that hasn't changed significantly in the last fifteen years.

The Field Poll results found 68 percent favored retaining the death penalty for serious crimes while 27 percent opposed it.

Californians have consistently supported the death penalty for the past five decades. The highest level of support was during the period between 1981 to 1992 when public support was greater than 75 percent.      

Among Republicans, a large majority of 81 percent were in favor of the death penalty. A small majority of Democrats supported the death penalty with 57 percent in favor.

Despite Calfornians long support of the death penalty, more voters now prefer life in prison without possibility of parol for someone convicted of first-degree murder. Forty-eight percent said life without parole while 40 percent said the death penalty.

The poll surveyed 1,001 registered voters by telephone from Sept. 1-12. It has an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

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