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Zogby Poll, Public supports police use of Tasers

Three-in-four (77%) likely voters say they support the continued use of
Tasers by police agencies around the country, and nearly half (44%) say they
strongly support police use of the non-lethal weapons, a new poll
conducted by Zogby International finds.   The same survey also finds
three-fourths (76%) of respondents believe police use of Tasers makes their
communities safer. The telephone survey of 1010 likely voters was conducted
from February 25 to 27, 2005, and has a margin of error of
+/-3.2 percentage points.

Respondents also indicated they would favor citizens like themselves having
the right to own Tasers.  On the question of individual ownership of the
devices, three-in-five (61%) respondents support private citizens being able
to protect themselves and their families with Tasers.  A majority of every
subgroup holds this view, regardless of race, gender, or income.

While just 17% oppose continued police use of the devices, more striking was
that support for Tasers is nearly universal, with majorities of every
demographic subgroup supporting police carrying them-and levels of support
among most groups exceeding two-in-three.

The survey finds Americans in support of police use of Tasers regardless of
where they live, how much they earn, or their ethnic background-there were
high levels support for the devices with every racial group, with 79% of
whites, 58% of African Americans, and 81% of Hispanics calling for continued
police use of Tasers. 

Similar trends emerge on the question of whether Tasers make communities
safer, with majorities of every subgroup agreeing that police use of the
non-lethal Taser devices leads to safer communities-again, with support
exceeding the two-thirds threshold.
 

On whether Tasers make communities safer, racial groups were even
closer:  77% of whites, 67% of African Americans, and 74% of Hispanics say
the electrical guns result in safer communities.

Zogby International conducted interviews of 1010 likely voters chosen at
random nationwide. All calls were made from Zogby International headquarters
in Utica, N.Y., from February 25 to 27, 2005. The margin of error is +/-3.2
percentage points. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race,
religion, gender, to more accurately reflect the voting population. Margins
of error are higher in sub-groups.

(3/8/2005)