Death penalty repeal picking up steam in state -- Gazette.Net


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Maryland voters support a ban on the sale of assault weapons in the state and background checks on people buying guns at gun shows, and approve of the job Gov. Martin O’Malley has done as governor, but do not want him to run for president in 2016, according to a new state poll.

Also, support for the death penalty seems to be slipping over time in Maryland, although 49 percent still favor retaining the death penalty, including 29 percent who strongly favor it. Meanwhile, 44 percent oppose the death penalty, including 31 percent who strongly oppose it, the poll shows.

Two years ago, 56 percent of Marylanders favored the death penalty, while 36 opposed it, according to the polling data.

“The biggest surprise was the eight-point pickup in the opposition to the death penalty,” said pollster Patrick E. Gonzales, of Annapolis-based Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies.

On gun control, 58 percent of Maryland voters would favor a law banning the sale of assault weapons in the state, including 46 percent who would strongly favor such a ban, while 40 percent would oppose a ban, according to the survey. But all voters, regardless of party affilation, favored closing the so-called gun shop loophole and favor requiring background checks on people buying guns at gun shows. In all, 88 percent favor background checks and just under 11 percent oppose them. The gun show background checks were strong favored by 78 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of independents.

At 94 percent, Maryland voters believe it is important for the state to improve and maintain the state’s transportation system. However, only 26 percent would favor a 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase, while 73 percent were opposed, including 59 percent who were strongly opposed.

While Maryland voters approve of O’Malley’s job as governor by a 54-41 split, just 25 percent believed he should run for president in 2016. Fifty-eight percent said he should not run.

Obama has a 64 percent approval rating in the state, while 35 percent disapproved of his performance, largely split along party lines and also by gender, according to the poll.

Obama had 92 percent approval from Democrats and 57 percent approval of independent voters, but 16 percent approval among Republicans.

Women, in particular, gave Obama high marks, with nearly 77 percent approving of his job, including 56 percent who strongly approved.

cford@gazette.net