Death penalty won’t sway Colorado elections, suggests poll

Capital punishment will not be a deciding issue in Colorado elections, suggest a new poll commissioned by the anti-capital punishment group, the Better Priorities Initiative.

Only 5 percent of Coloradans surveyed view a candidate’s stance on the death penalty as a “most important” factor when deciding whom to vote for, and most will support candidates they generally agree with, even if those politicians have a different take on capital punishment, according to the poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.

Jobs and the economy, health care and education top the list of voters’ deciding priorities. The fate of people convicted of crimes does not.

But that doesn’t mean people aren’t thinking about the death penalty.

Just 32.6 percent of Coloradans prefer the death penalty for people convicted of murder, and 71 percent think that Colorado will not execute anybody in the next 10 years.

nearly 43 percent want to see the death penalty replaced, and 47.2 percent want it to stay in place.

While capital punishment might not be a deciding factor in who gets in office, the conversation isn’t over.

The Colorado GOP’s possible U.S. Senate candidate District Attorney George Brauchler is best known among voters for trying win the death penalty for Aurora Theater Shooter James Holmes.

In a recent interview, death penalty opponent Gov. John Hickenlooper told Ryan Warner, host of Colorado Matters, that the time is not right for trying to end capital punishment.

“I think it would be better for Colorado, obviously, if [the death penalty were abolished before I leave office], but I don’t think you can put a strict timeline on these things. It might take decades more. It’s hard to predict,” the Governor said.

In light of his opposition, many death penalty opponents are asking why he thinks the time is not right, especially when Colorado’s traditionally conservative neighbor to the east, Nebraska, already has already abolished state executions.

Photo credit: Patrick Feller, Creative Commons, Flickr