A Majority of Canadians Support the Death Penalty but only 40% want it reinstated

To review a detailed report and the survey’s methodology, download the report here.

A new survey from national polling firm Abacus Data found that two thirds of Canadians (66%) said they support the death penalty in certain circumstances, and over 40% would like to see the federal government reinstate it.  Support for the death penalty was highest among older Canadians, men, as well as Conservative and NDP supporters.

“The Prime Minister’s comments on CBC are in line with a majority of Canadians,” said Dr. David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.  “Although a majority personally support using the death penalty in certain circumstances, a majority also do not want to see it reinstated.”

Opinion about the death penalty is very much a generational issue.  Only one in four Millennials (18-29) said they supported the death penalty and want it reinstated, whereas half of Canadians (50%) aged 45-59, and 47% of those 60 and up held this view.

“For many younger Canadians, the death penalty is not an acceptable form of punishment and their views differ widely from those of their elders,” said Coletto.

Regionally, support for the death penalty was fairly consistent with Albertans being the most likely to say they support the death penalty overall (70%).  Support for reinstating it is highest among those living in Central Canada (50%) and BC (45%) and lowest in Quebec with 34% holding this view.  Atlantic Canadians (32%) and Quebecers (31%) were most likely to oppose the death penalty.

Support for reinstating the death penalty was highest among respondents who identified themselves as Conservative (48%).  Interestingly, NDP supporters were nearly as likely as Conservatives to favour the death penalty (46% supported the death penalty and wanted it reinstated).  the other hand, Liberals and Bloc voters were most likely to be personally opposed to the death penalty at 44%.

Only three in ten Canadians say they are completely opposed to the death penalty and strongly oppose the federal government reinstating it.

To review a detailed report and the survey’s methodology, download the report here.

Methodology
Between January 21 and 24, 2011, Abacus Data Inc. conducted an online survey among 1,105  randomly selected Canadian adults from an online panel of over 100,000 Canadians. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is comparable to +/- 3.0%, 19 times out of 20.

Results of the survey were statistically weighted by gender, age, region, and language using census data from Statistics Canada and by past vote using Elections Canada results from the 2008 General Election. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

To review a detailed report and the survey’s methodology, download the report here.

David Coletto is CEO of Abacus Data and leads its Public Affairs research practice. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.  He’s an avid road cyclist.

Contact David Coletto:

T: 613-232-2806 x. 248

E: david@abacusdata.ca

W: http://www.abacusdata.ca

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