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121102 Field Poll

121102 Field Poll

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Published by jon_ortiz
An analysis of the voters' attitudes on ballot measures that would change state campaign finance laws and repeal the death penalty.
An analysis of the voters' attitudes on ballot measures that would change state campaign finance laws and repeal the death penalty.

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Published by: jon_ortiz on Nov 02, 2012
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11/02/2012

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THE FIELD POLL

Release #2432

THE INDEPENDENT AND NON-PARTISAN SURVEY OF PUBLIC OPINION ESTABLISHED IN 1947 AS THE CALIFORNIA POLL BY MERVIN FIELD

Field Research Corporation
601 California Street, Suite 900 San Francisco, CA 94108-2814 (415) 392-5763 FAX: (415) 434-2541 EMAIL: fieldpoll@field.com www.field.com/fieldpollonline

Release Date: Friday, November 2, 2012 IMPORTANT: Contract for this service is subject to revocation if publication or broadcast takes place before release date or if contents are divulged to persons outside of subscriber staff prior to release time. (ISSN 0195-4520)

MORE VOTERS NOW FAVOR DEATH PENALTY'S REPEAL (PROP. 34), BUT YES VOTE LESS THAN A MAJORITY. PROP. 32 (PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS FOR POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS) OPPOSED BY A WIDE MARGIN. By Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field

The latest Field Poll finds that for the first time supporters outnumber opponents of Proposition 34, the statewide ballot initiative to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole. Currently 45% of this state’s likely voters are voting Yes while 38% are voting No. But, a relatively large 17% remain undecided. One of the factors propelling the increase in support of the initiative relates to the growing perception that the death penalty is more expensive to administer than housing a person in prison for life. When asked about this in the current survey, 53% of likely voters now say the death penalty is more expensive than life in prison, while 31% think it is more expensive to house a convicted felon for life. This represents a significant change in voter opinion compared to past Field Poll measures. A September 2011 Field Poll found slightly more believing life in prison was more expensive than the death penalty (43% to 41%), while in 1989 greater than a two to one majority felt this way (54% to 26%). The poll also finds more voters moving to the No side on Proposition 32, the initiative to prohibit payroll deductions for campaign contributions. At present 50% of likely voters are intending to vote No on Prop. 32, while 34% are in favor. This sixteen-point plurality against the measure is more than twice the six point deficit observed in mid-September. These results come from the final pre-election Field Poll conducted by telephone among likely voters in California in six languages and dialects. A total of 1,566 likely voters were surveyed. Interviewing was administered in two consecutive waves, with 815 interviews conducted October 17-24 and 751 completed October 25-30.

Field Research Corporation is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer

The Field Poll Friday, November 2, 2012

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Trend of voter preferences on Props 30 and 32 Last month 45% of likely voters were intending to vote No on Prop. 34, while 42% were on the Yes side. In the current poll’s first interviewing wave the two sides were polling about evenly (41% Yes vs. 40% No). However, in the poll’s second interviewing wave the Yes side had pulled ahead 45% to 38%. The trend line on Prop. 32 is following a different pattern, with opposition growing in the election’s final weeks. In the survey’s second interviewing wave Prop. 32 was trailing by sixteen points (50% to 34%), up from a six point deficit in mid-September. Table 1 Trend of voter preferences toward Proposition 34 (Death Penalty Repeal) and Proposition 32 (Payroll Deductions for Political Contributions) (among likely voters) Voting yes Voting no Undecided Proposition 34 (Death Penalty Repeal) October 25 – 30 October 17 – 24 September 6-18 Proposition 32 (Payroll Deductions for Political Contributions) October 25 – 30 October 17 – 24 September 6-18 45% 41% 42% 38 40 45 17 19 13

34% 34% 38%

50 49 44

16 17 18

Voter preferences on Prop. 34 across voter subgroups There are a number of significant differences in voter preferences on Prop. 34 across major subgroups of the likely voter electorate. Support for repeal is greatest among Democrats, political liberals, and voters living in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Opposition is greatest among Republicans, conservatives, Protestants and voters living in the state’s inland counties. A number of important subgroups remain closely divided on Prop. 34. This includes independents (40% Yes vs. 36% No, with a large 24% undecided), men (43% Yes vs. 43% No), white nonHispanics (41% Yes and 42% No), and political moderates (42% Yes and 39% No).

The Field Poll Friday, November 2, 2012

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The state’s large and growing ethnic voter population are considerably more supportive than the white non-Hispanic voters, although not uniformly so. Latinos are backing Prop. 34 by 15 points, and African-American are about two to one on the Yes side. While Asian-American voters overall are narrowly backing Prop. 34, there are differing opinions within different segments of the AsianAmerican electorate. For example, there is greater opposition than support among ChineseAmericans and Korean-Americans, while Vietnamese-Americans and voters from other AsianAmerican segments are more supportive. While Protestants oppose repealing the death penalty 48% to 30%, a plurality of Catholics are favoring its repeal (47% to 38%). Support for repeal is even stronger among voters affiliated with other non-Christian religions (54%) and among voters with no religious preference (60%).

The Field Poll Friday, November 2, 2012

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Table 2 Voter preferences on Prop. 34 (Death Penalty Repeal) – by subgroup (among likely voters) Undecided/ Yes voter No voter refused Total likely voters October 25 – 30 45% 38 17 October 17 – 24 41% 40 19 Voting frequency Regular voter 43% 39 18 New/occasional voter 38% 41 21 Party registration Democrats 57% 24 19 Republicans 27% 59 14 No party preference/others 40% 36 24 Voting method Precinct voter 42% 38 20 Mail ballot voter 44% 40 16 Already voted 48% 42 10 Political ideology Strongly conservative 20% 62 18 Moderately conservative 27% 53 20 Middle-of-the-road 42% 39 19 Moderately liberal 60% 20 20 Strongly liberal 70% 17 13 Area Coastal counties 46% 36 18 Inland counties 35% 46 19 Region Los Angeles County 46% 34 20 South Coast 39% 45 16 Other Southern California 34% 47 19 Central Valley 39% 44 17 San Francisco Bay Area 53% 30 17 Other Northern California* 41% 38 21 Gender Male 43% 43 14 Female 43% 35 22 Religious affiliation Protestant 30% 48 22 Catholic 47% 38 15 Other religions 54% 32 14 No preference 60% 24 16 Race/ethnicity White non-Hispanic 41% 42 17 Latino 47% 32 21 African-American* 49% 23 28 Asian-American (total) 42% 39 19 Chinese-American* 24% 46 30 Korean-American* 24% 55 21 Vietnamese-American* 48% 30 22 Other Asian-Americans* 54% 35 11
* Small sample base. Note: Subgroup findings based on all voters interviewed during both waves of the survey.

The Field Poll Friday, November 2, 2012

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Shifting voter attitudes toward issues surrounding the death penalty and life in prison without parole Twenty-three years ago in 1989 The Field Poll first asked Californians about their attitudes toward the death penalty vis-à-vis life in prison without the possibility of parole. In that survey a two to one majority (54% to 26%) felt implementing the death penalty was cheaper than housing a convicted felon in prison for life. The 1989 survey also found that about two in three voters (64%) worried that sentencing someone to life in prison without the possibility of parole didn’t always guarantee that the prisoner wouldn’t some day be released. In addition, when voters were asked how often they thought innocent people were executed, a large majority (64%) felt this happened so rarely as to be unimportant. Voter attitudes on each of these matters has changed significantly over the past two decades. Now, a 53% to 31% majority believes that the death penalty is more expensive to administer than life in prison without parole. In addition, a plurality of voters are more confident that when someone is sentenced to life in prison without parole it guarantees that they will not be released some day. By a 47% to 45% margin voters also say that too often innocent people are given the death sentence. Table 3 Changes in California public opinions about issues surrounding the death penalty and life in prison without parole (among likely voters) 2012 2011 1989 Which is more expensive – the death penalty vs. life in prison?
Death penalty more expensive Death penalty cheaper No opinion

53% 31 16

41% 43 16

26% 54 20

What does the sentence of life in prison without parole mean?
Guarantees the criminal will never get out of prison Doesn't guarantee that the prisoner won't be released some day No opinion

47% 42 11 47% 45 8

45% 46 9 39% 52 9

27% 64 9 23% 64 13

How often are innocent people executed?
Too often So rarely that it's unimportant No opinion
Note: 2011 and 1989 surveys based on all registered voters.

The Field Poll Friday, November 2, 2012

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The views of voters on these matters are directly tied to the position they are taking on Proposition 34. There is greater than two to one support (62% to 26%) for Prop. 34 among those who believe the death is more expensive than giving a convicted felon criminal life in prison without parole. By contrast, voters who feel the death penalty is cheaper are lining up on the No side 59% to 27%. Voters who believe sentencing someone to life in prison without parole actually means that a prisoner will not be released during his lifetime, support repealing the death penalty greater than five to one (74% to 13%). Those who remain skeptical and believe sentencing someone to life in prison doesn’t always assure that the prisoner won’t be released some day are voting No on Prop. 34 by a three to one margin (62% to 21%). Similarly, the growing proportion of voters who believe that innocent people are too often executed support the death penalty’s repeal four to one (67% to 17%). Those who feel this happens so rarely as to be unimportant are on the No side 58% to 27%. Table 4 How views about the death penalty and life in prison without parole relate to voter preferences on Proposition 34 (among likely voters) Death Penalty is… More No expensive Cheaper opinion Voting preference on Prop. 34 Yes 62% 27% 22% No 26 59 36 Undecided 12 14 42 What does life in prison without parole mean? Guarantees Doesn't prisoner No won't be guarantee released this opinion 74% 21% 12% 13 62 46 13 17 42 Innocent people executed… Too No often opinion* Rarely 67% 27% 20% 17 58 40 16 15 40

Voting preference on Prop. 34
Yes No Undecided

Voting preference on Prop. 34
Yes No Undecided
* Small sample base.

The Field Poll Friday, November 2, 2012

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Few voter subgroups are backing Prop. 32 Voters across most of the state’s major political, regional and demographic segments are now lining up on the No side on Proposition 32, the payroll deductions for political contributions initiative. Opposition is greatest among registered Democrats and voters in union households. The only major subgroup in which a significant proportion of likely voters favors its passage are Republicans.

The Field Poll Friday, November 2, 2012

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Table 5 Voter preferences about Proposition 32, the Payroll Deductions for Political Contributions initiative – by subgroup (among likely voters) Yes voter Total likely voters October 25 – 30 October 17 – 24 Voting frequency Regular voter New/occasional voter Party registration Democrats Republicans No party preference/others Voting method Precinct voter Mail ballot voter Already voted Area Coastal counties Inland counties Region Los Angeles County South Coast Other Southern California Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Other Northern California* Gender Male Female Age 18 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 64 65 or older Race/ethnicity White non-Hispanic Latino African-American* Asian-American (total) Chinese-American* Korean-American* Vietnamese-American* Other Asian-American* Union affiliation Union household Non-union households 34% 34% 34% 35% 20% 54% 32% 35% 34% 33% 35% 34% 32% 44% 37% 32% 30% 29% 37% 32% 41% 25% 34% 32% 39% 37% 26% 25% 37% 33% 33% 36% 41% 25% 37% No voter 50 49 50 42 61 32 50 44 54 58 48 51 48 42 47 54 54 53 50 48 44 52 51 56 44 47 57 57 46 43 43 47 47 63 46 Undecided/ refused 16 17 16 23 19 14 18 21 12 9 17 15 20 14 16 14 16 18 13 20 15 23 15 12 17 16 17 18 17 24 24 17 12 12 17

* Small sample base. Note: Subgroup findings based on all voters interviewed during both waves of the survey.

The Field Poll Friday, November 2, 2012

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– 30 – Information About The Survey
Methodological Details

The results reported in this report come from a survey completed by The Field Poll among a total of 1,912 California registered voters, 1,566 of whom were considered likely to vote in the November general election. The survey was conducted by telephone using live interviewers in six languages and dialects – English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese from Field Research Corporation’s central location call center in San Diego. Data collection was conducted over two consecutive interviewing periods. The first spanned the period October 17-24 and included 815 likely voters, while the second was completed October 25-30 and included 751 likely voters. Some of the questions were asked of voters only during the second wave. The voter samples from each interviewing wave were supplemented with additional interviews conducted among Asian-American voters to make comparisons with the state’s other major racial/ethnic voting populations. Funding for the multi-ethnic samples was provided by the New America Media, through a grant from the San Francisco Foundation. Up to six attempts were made to reach and interview each randomly selected voter on different days and times of day during the interviewing period. Interviews were completed on either a voter’s landline phone or a cell phone. In this survey 1,479 interviews were conducted on a landline phone and 433 were completed through a cell phone contact. After completion of interviewing, the overall sample was weighted to align it to the proper statewide distribution of voters by race/ethnicity and other demographic characteristics of the California registered voter population. Sampling error estimates applicable to any probability-based survey depend upon its sample size. According to statistical theory, 95% of the time results from the overall likely voter sample are subject to a maximum sampling error of +/- 2.6 percentage points, while findings based on voters interviewed in either the first or second interviewing waves have a maximum sampling error of +/- 3.6 percentage points. The maximum sampling error is based on percentages in the middle of the sampling distribution (percentages around 50%). Percentages at either end of the distribution have a smaller margin of error. Sampling error will be larger for analyses based on subgroups of the overall sample. The Field Poll was established in 1947 as The California Poll by Mervin Field, who is still an active advisor. The Poll has operated continuously since then as an independent, non-partisan survey of California public opinion. The Poll receives annual funding from media subscribers of The Field Poll, from several California foundations, and the University of California and California State University systems, who receive the data files from each Field Poll survey shortly after its completion for teaching and secondary research purposes. Questions Asked I am going to read some of the statewide initiatives that are on the November election ballot. Please tell me whether you are inclined to vote Yes or No on each. Proposition 32 is the Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction, Contributions to Candidates initiative. It prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. It prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees and prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees. Fiscal Impact: Increased costs to state and local government, potentially exceeding 1 million dollars annually, to implement and enforce the measure's requirements. (IF ALREADY VOTED:) Did you vote YES or NO on Proposition 32? (IF HAVEN'T VOTED YET:) If the election were being held today, would you vote YES or NO on Proposition 32?

The Field Poll Friday, November 2, 2012

#2432 Page 10

Proposition 34 is the Death Penalty initiative. It repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. It applies retroactively to existing death sentences and directs 100 million dollars to law enforcement agencies for investigations of homicide and rape cases. Fiscal Impact: Ongoing state and county criminal justice savings of about 130 million dollars annually within a few years, which could vary by tens of millions of dollars. One-time state costs of 100 million dollars for local law enforcement grants. (IF ALREADY VOTED:) Did you vote YES or NO on Proposition 34? (IF HAVEN'T VOTED YET:) If the election were being held today, would you vote YES or NO on Proposition 34? (THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS WERE ASKED ONLY OF VOTERS INTERVIEWED IN THE SECOND INTERVIEWING WAVE) Some people argue that the death penalty is cheaper than life in prison because of how much it costs to keep a prisoner for life. Other people believe that because of all the appeals and legal costs, it is actually more expensive to sentence someone to death than to life in prison. Which of these two views do you agree with more – the first statement or second statement? Some people argue that the death penalty is necessary, because people who are sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole sometimes manage to get out of prison at some point. Others argue that life without possibility of parole means that the person will never get out of prison, so that the death penalty is not necessary. Which of these two views do you agree with more – the first statement or second statement? Some people argue against the death penalty because they believe that innocent people are too often executed, and there is no way to correct the mistakes. Other people argue that this happens so rarely that it is not an important reason to oppose the death penalty. Which of these two views do you agree with more – the first statement or second statement?

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