Asking the Correct Question in a Death Penalty Poll

I have long been critical on this blog of the way major polling organizations phrase their questions on the death penalty. Professors Joseph Bessette and Andrew Sinclair of Claremont McKenna College have done it right. They have this article at Real Clear Policy explaining their work and results. The full technical report is here. (Hint: no one familiar with my prior posts will be surprised at the results.)

I will likely have more to say on this, but I wanted to get this important result out to our readers immediately.

1 Response

  1. Dudley Sharp says:

    I, like Kent, have been critical of many death penalty polls, over the years.

    Gallup, and others, are very aware of the problems with their normal polls. When Gallup polled on the execution of mass murderer, OKC bomber,Timothy McVeigh, there was an 81% support for his execution, over all demographics.

    I doubt, many, in the media will carry this newest poll, because they just can’t handle, additional, death penalty support.

    I suspect it will reflect the media reaction to the Angus-Reid poll, from 2013, which showed 86% death penalty support, using similar methodology, as this newest poll.

    Not one media outlet carried that 2013 poll, even though Angus-Reid was the most accurate polster in covering Obama’s election.

    Angus-Reid, got the message and stopped doing their death penalty poll, which had found 80 and 81% death penalty support, in previous polls,which were carried by some in the media.