The majority of Americans polled believe the governors of states ought not to have the right to pardon convicted killers, according to a Poll Position national scientific survey.
The survey was conducted following public outrage over pardons granted by Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, to more than 200 state prisoners. The list also included four convicted killers who, under the prison-trustee laborer system, worked at the governor's house.
A little more than half of those polled (52 percent) said the governor should not have the right to pardon convicted killers. A significantly smaller portion (28 percent) believed the governor should be able to issue pardons, while 20 percent said they had no opinion.
The survey also showed African-Americans (56 percent) as being, generally, against the right to pardon, compared to the White Americans (51 percent). Of those polled, 22 percent of African-Americans and 31 percent of White Americans were in favor of the governor having powers of pardon. The rest said they had no opinion.
The survey further indicated a division among political lines... the majority of the Democrats and Republicans (55 percent and 52 percent, respectively) opposed the state governors' right to pardon convicts, while only 48 percent of the independents were against the idea.
Poll Position's scientific telephone survey of 1,179 registered voters nationwide was conducted on Jan. 15 and has a margin of error of ±3 percent.