Poll: Majority want to keep death sentence

Poll: Majority want to keep death sentence

Prisoners on death row and those serving jail terms of 25 years or more join an activity at Bang Kwang Central Prison in Bangkok on Saturday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Prisoners on death row and those serving jail terms of 25 years or more join an activity at Bang Kwang Central Prison in Bangkok on Saturday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

An overwhelming majority of Thais support execution as a penalty for abominable crimes, according to an opinion survey.

Superpoll conducted a survey of 1,123 people from June 19-22. It asked questions about constitutions, democracy and capital punishment.

On the death penalty, 93.4% of the respondents think the capital sentence should be kept for cruel murderers. Interestingly, the approval rates seem to link closely with age. It is the highest among those aged 60 or more (96.6%), followed by the 25-59 age group (93.6%) and those aged 24 or younger (87.5%).

A majority of 90.2% also support the chief of the Corrections Department in enforcing the punishment.

The department earlier this month staged its first execution in nine years, putting to death by lethal injection a man who had savagely stabbed a teenager 24 times for his phone and some cash in 2012.

Superpoll also questioned respondents on their knowledge of constitutions. A little more than half, or 50.6%, do not know what a constitution is while 10.5% know it is the highest law of the land. The remaining 38.9% claim to know what it is but say it involves democracy or some regulations they need to comply with.

A majority (68.3%) have never read the latest charter -- the country has had 20 of them -- and used second-hand information in deciding which version is better (87.1%). A mere 12.9% say they read it and compared the content by themselves.

Asked what provisions should be included in a good constitution, 66.3% say protection of key institutions, protection of life (65.7%), elimination of political cronyism (57.2%), protection of the rights and interests of communities (56.9%), protection of national interests, peace and order (53.9%), corruption elimination (50%), checks and balances (42.8%) and popular prime ministership which need not be an MP (40.1%).

On knowledge about democracy, 40% say they know and can answer correctly what it is while 35.7% think they know but are not so sure while 24.3% say they don’t know what it is.

Some 74.5% say they have enough freedom in everyday life while 25.5% say they would like more.


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