on Death Penalty,
Published March 2, 2004. By Chris
Christoff. Detroit Free Press.
A new poll suggests that Michiganders would rather kill murderers than mourning doves.
For certain, Michigan voters don't approve of shooting doves, according to the poll of 600 voters by EPIC/MRA of Lansing.
A bill before the Senate would lift the state's 99-year-old ban on dove-hunting, which is permitted in most states. The poll shows 51 percent of voters oppose dove-hunting, while 30 percent support it. The others are undecided.
The death penalty is more complicated.
The poll shows 56 percent supporting capital punishment for first-degree murder, and 34 percent opposed. But voters are evenly divided when given a choice between execution and locking up convicted killers for life without parole -- the current Michigan penalty for first-degree murder.
The poll conducted Feb. 22-25 has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
"The death penalty is not a slam dunk to pass at the ballot," said EPIC/MRA pollster Ed Sarpolus.
In fact, Sarpolus said, support for capital punishment has diminished since the mid-1980s, when it peaked at around 70 percent in Michigan.
In the wake of the slayings of two Detroit police officers on Feb. 16, state Rep. Larry Julian, R-Lennon, introduced a resolution to repeal Michigan's 158-year-old ban on the death penalty. To make the change, voters would have to change Michigan's Constitution.
The death penalty is opposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the Senate's top leader, Sen. Ken Sikkema, R-Grandville, and the influential Michigan Catholic Conference.
The strongest support for capital punishment is in central Michigan, while it is most strongly opposed in the city of Detroit, according to the poll.
Most Republicans support the death penalty, while most Democrats oppose it.
- Songbird Protection Coalition