A poll conducted in January 2007 for the Coalition reveals that while Kansans often say they support the death penalty, they have concerns about its fairness and a large majority wish for a better way to stop murderers. Fifty-seven percent agreed that “the death penalty is too arbitrary because some people are executed while others serve prison terms for the same crimes.” Seventy percent agreed with the statement “I wish we had a better way than the death penalty of stopping murderers.”
When given specific options, respondents selected long prison sentences (50 years) over the death penalty. The option that included life without parole coupled with an element of restitution (work in prison industries to compensate victims’ families) registered an even higher percentage than the long sentence by itself–65% for this combination versus 51% for the 50-year minimum). Given multiple options to choose from, almost six in ten (59%) chose something other than the death penalty. These questions were also asked in a 1994 poll; comparing the two polls shows decreased support for capital punishment among Kansans.
The 2007 poll was conducted by Jayhawk Consulting Services, Inc. Five hundred Kansans who had voted in at least two of the past three general elections were polled by phone on January 20-21. The poll has a margin of error of approximately plus or minus four percent.