Governor Jodi Rell says she will veto a bill that would eliminate the death penalty in Connecticut, and a new poll shows she has the public on her side.
Since the bill to abolish the death penalty passed the Senate last week, opponents of capital punishment have held regular press conferences. It was families of murder victims last week, an exonerated death row inmate from Illinois this week, and law enforcement officials are scheduled for next week.
Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty director Ben Jones says it is all targeted at Governor Rell.
"Though the governor has said she'll veto the bill, we're still going to keep trying to get our message out and help her to change her mind."
But it comes at a time that a new Quinnipiac poll shows strong public support for keeping the death penalty an option in Connecticut.
"Nearly two to one support among all age groups," says Doug Schwartz, Quinnipiac's poll director.
Republican voters were more likely to support capital punsihment than Democrats, but overall, three out of five voters favor keeping the option instead of scrapping it for a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. That's in line with a 2007 poll that asked about capital punishment following the Cheshire home invasion murders.
"When you ask about specific cases you find better than 70 percent supporting the death penalty, so I really wasn't suprised when we asked about this specific bill in Connecticut that we found a majority in favor of the death penalty," Schwartz says.
Chances are slim to none the governor will let this latest bill become law. When asked about the potential for a turnaround, spokesman Chris Cooper says Rell's position on the death penalty has been consistent since was a legislator in 1986 -- that the death penalty is a just punishment for the most heinous crimes.