When thinking about the best ways to protect society, 54% believe it is more important for law enforcement to catch a much larger share of criminals rather than imposing very harsh penalties on the small percentage of criminals who are caught. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 24% disagree and take the opposite view. Twenty-two percent (22%) are not sure.
Among voters under 35, half (48%) say catching more criminals is the top priority while 33% think harsher penalties will do more to protect society. Senior citizens place a higher priority on catching more criminals. By a 60% to 21% margin, they believe that’s the best approach.
Sixty percent (60%) of Democrats think catch more criminals is most important. So do 52% of Independents and 49% of Republicans (see crosstab results).
Sixty-seven percent (67%) of voters nationwide are in favor of allowing the death penalty as punishment for very severe crimes. However, that support is tempered by the reality of implementation. 50% believe there are a number of violent criminals who deserve the death penalty, but don’t trust the government enough to trust the government enough to determine whether a convicted criminal should be put to death.
Data released earlier showed by 58% favored the criminal justice reform passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last week.
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The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted December 23-24, 2018 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the demographic profile of our sample). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).