Today's Baltimore Sun reports, "Marylanders strongly support gun control proposals, poll finds; State voters divided over death penalty repeal." It's by Michael Dresser.
A new poll shows Marylanders strongly support two gun control measures that Gov. Martin O'Malley has suggested he might ask the General Assembly to pass in the wake of last month's elementary school massacre in Connecticut.
On another measure the governor supports — repeal of the death penalty — the state's voters are divided.
The poll of 800 registered voters, taken by the Annapolis-based firm OpinionWorks and released to The Baltimore Sun, shows overwhelming majorities favor banning the sale of assault weapons in Maryland and limiting the number of bullets a gun's magazine can hold.
The death penalty issue is likely to be particularly hard-fought and could be decided by a margin of one or two votes in the state Senate. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has promised a floor vote if the governor can muster enough support to pass a bill in that chamber.
The poll showed Marylanders are against repeal by a margin of 48 percent to 42 percent, but the margin has been narrowing in recent years.
Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, a Baltimore Democrat who has led the fight for repeal, said the poll numbers are more favorable to her cause than in the past.
"What it says, at least to me, is we're moving toward repeal," Gladden said. "These are the highest, closest numbers we've ever seen saying they support repeal."
Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, said that when pollsters ask people another question — whether they would support life without parole as an alternative to execution — they routinely say yes by margins of 60 percent or more.
Some voters tend to support capital punishment in the abstract, Henderson said.