Are Conservatives Changing Their Minds About The Death Penalty?

The recent repeal of the death penalty in deeply conservative Nebraska surprised the nation, and now repeal advocates are saying this is just the beginning.

Nebraska’s legislature voted Wednesday to override Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of a bill that would abolish the death penalty, making the home of Big Red the first red state to abolish the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973. This has given hope to repeal advocates in other conservative states that still enforce capital punishment.

Gallup polls show that in 1994, 85 percent of Republicans favored the death penalty. That number dropped to 76 percent in 2014. This coincides with the lessening up of a wave of a tough on crime mentality that swept America in the 90’s because of high crime rates.

Nebraska, in which 36 of 49 state legislature seats are Republican, voted for Mitt Romney by a wide margin in the 2012 presidential race which is why so many were surprised by the repeal effort being not only strong enough to pass but also to override a veto.