Nearly two-thirds of Marylanders surveyed say a sentence of life without parole is an acceptable alternative to the death penalty.
The results are part of a survey released early Wednesday morning by Annapolis-based Gonzales Research.
The poll 801 state residents found that support for the death penalty in the state has slipped to 49 percent. In 2011, that same poll found that 56 percent of those polled favored the death penalty.
Opposition to the death penalty comes from Democrats and blacks at nearly 60 percent each. Republicans, independents and whites all favor the retention of capital punishment, according to the poll.
Support for Stricter Gun Laws
At the top of O'Malley's legislative agenda is a slate of stricter gun laws.
Statewide, 58 percent of those surveyed said they would favor banning the sale of assault weapons.
The poll also found that 88 percent of those surveyed favored background checks for people purchasing firearms at gun shows.
Also, about 44 percent of those surveyed said stricter gun laws would do more to prevent violence in schools compared to 36 percent who said armed guards or police officers would reduce violence in schools.
Public Supports Transportation, Rejects Taxes
In an interesting juxtaposition, 94 percent of those surveyed believe it is important to maintain state roads and bridges but a majority of all groups surveyed did not favor a gas tax increase to support those projects.
Only 26 percent of those surveyed said they support a 10-cent per gallon increase in the state gas tax compared to 73 percent in the same poll that said they oppose that tax.
The strongest support for a tax increase comes from Democrats with 36 percent being in favor.
Republicans, independents, men and women all oppose the tax—89, 75, 75 and 71 percent respectively.
Majority Approves of O'Malley Performance, Not Presidential Aspirations
O'Malley's job approval remains essentially flat compared to the same time last year with 54 percent of those surveyed saying they approve of the two-term governor's performance.
Women and blacks, 61 and 78 percent respectively, were the strongest supporters of O'Malley, according to the poll. Only 46 percent of men and whites respectively said they approved of the job O'Malley is doing.
A year ago, O'Malley's approval was 53 percent. His lowest job approval numbers, 37 percent, came in March 2008.
Despite the majority approval, most surveyed said they did not want to see the governor run for President.
Of those surveyed, only 25 percent said they believed O'Malley should run for President in 2016 while 58 percent said he should not and 17 percent were not sure.
The governor is widely considered to be interested in running for president in four years and recently created a federal campaign account.