PUBLIC OPINION: Strong Majority of North Carolinians Prefer Life Without Parole Over the Death Penalty

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A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling indicated a strong majority of North Carolina residents prefer replacing the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole (LWOP), as long as some conditions are imposed. According to the survey, 68% of respondents support replacing the death penalty with LWOP if the offender had to work and pay restitution to the victim’s family. Sixty-three percent (63%) support repealing the death penalty if the money saved was redirected to effective crime fighting tools. And more than half (55%) of the respondents supported ending the death penalty if the money saved was redirected to solving cold cases and assisting victims of crime. Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, noted the change occurring on this issue: “The days when the death penalty enjoyed near-universal support are clearly over,” he said. “Across the country, poll after poll has shown that. These results show that people in North Carolina are willing to consider alternatives to capital punishment.” Read full results of the survey.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 600 North Carolinians by telephone between February 7-10, 2013. Forty-four percent (44%) of respondents identified themselves as conservative; 65% of those who called themselves “somewhat conservative” and 50% of those who self-identified as “very conservative” supported switching to life in prison without parole. North Carolina has not had an execution since 2006.

(H. White, “Poll: N.C. residents reject death penalty,” Charlotte Post, March 4, 2013). See Public Opinion and Life Without Parole.