Ohio State University conducts Research on the Death Penalty
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences' Center for Survey Research at Ohio State University has conducted a study examining the opinions of Ohioans regarding the use of the Death Penalty. The data for this study was collected as part of the monthly Buckeye State Poll in October and consisted of three questions asked of a random sample of 819 English speaking adults residing in Ohio.
Following are the findings:
When asked whether they favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder, 74% of Ohioans report being in favor with 11% of those indicating that their being in favor was contingent upon the presence of certain circumstances. 23% reported opposition to the use of the death penalty, while 3% expressed ambivalence.
These findings are consistent with research conducted by the Center in September of 1997.
When questioned as to the likelihood of an innocent person being wrongly convicted and executed, 68% of Ohioans reported such an occurrence to be either somewhat or very likely. 32% of Ohioans believe that it is somewhat unlikely, very unlikely or not at all possible.
These findings are not consistent with the research conducted in 1997,
when approximately half of Ohioans (46%) reported that an innocent person
might be wrongly convicted and executed, and half (51%) reported it to
be unlikely or impossible (3% were unsure or
When asked "if convicted 1st degree murderers in Ohio could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a minimum of 25 years and also be required to work in prison industries for money that would go to the families of their victims, would you prefer this as an alternative to the death penalty?" 57% supported the alternative, while 39% were opposed (5% expressedambivalence).
These findings also appear to be consistent with the research conducted
in 1997, although the current findings exhibit a slight increase in those
voicing opposition to use of the option. It is important to note that this
increase may be, at least in part, attributable to a difference in the
wording from the 1997 version in which Ohioans were asked about their feelings
towards the use of the option if the convicted were given life in prison
The information for this survey was gathered through telephone interviews conducted from October 8, 1999, through October 31, 1999, with 819 randomly selected adults throughout the state of Ohio.
The results have been weighted to take into account the number of telephone lines in each household, the number of eligible adults in each household, and to adjust for variations in the sample relating to county of residence, gender, age, race, education, and whether or not any non-adult children lived in the household.
In theory, in 19 cases of 20, the results for this weighted sample of
Ohioans will differ due to sampling error by no more than 3.5 percentage
points in either direction from what would
This study was sponsored by the Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (CUADP), a national organization based in Florida. Contact CUADP Director Abraham J. Bonowitz at 800-973-6548 or via pager at 888-319-1369.
Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Craig Wright is available to discuss his concerns regarding the risk of executing the innocent and the concept of residual doubt. Justice Wright may be reached at 614-221-4000.
For further information related to this research contact Dr. Erik Stewart at 614-292-6672