At the Los Angeles Times, "California death penalty repeal, Proposition 34, rejected."
And see, "Californians say they oppose death penalty, then vote for it":
The Field Poll has been querying Californians on the death penalty for more than 50 years, and in 2011 there was a notable shift. Although 68% of respondents said they were in favor of keeping capital punishment, a percentage that had fluctuated only slightly since 2002, the answers grew more interesting when the question was phrased a different way. Asked whether they would rather sentence killers to life without parole or the death penalty, a significant majority of Californians in 2011 said they preferred the former -- 48% favored life imprisonment vs. 40% for state-sponsored execution. Since the poll started asking this question in 2000, death had always trumped a life-in-prison sentence.Wrong. It wasn't that. The freak progressives always blame it on RAAAAACISM!!
Proposition 34 would have done precisely what voters in 2011 said they wanted, resentencing the 726 death row inmates to life without the possibility of parole and eliminating capital punishment as an option in future cases. Yet the initiative lost, 52.8% to 47.2%. What happened?
It's possible the 2011 poll just wasn't all that accurate. Or maybe voters changed their minds when the possibility of ending the death penalty wasn't just theoretical but real. Or perhaps some version of the Bradley effect was at play: Under this theory, white voters are sometimes inclined to tell pollsters they intend to vote for a black candidate even though they don't intend to do so. Similarly, a voter whose brain tells him the death penalty is a seldom-carried-out waste of taxpayer money that risks the execution of an innocent person -- but whose gut tells him that an eye for an eye is the true definition of justice -- might be inclined to tell pollsters that his brain is in charge. Once in the voting booth, the bile takes over.
No, it was an aggressive blitz by No on 34 forces that powerfully exposed the moral bankruptcy of the initiative. Heinous murderers were about to have their death sentences commuted. The voters woke up when confronted with the brutal truth about progressive "compassion." There is hope toward stemming the tide against the bloody brutal wave of progressive decadence and decay. Conservatives can't sit around and pout. They've got to redouble the fight, even in the bluest of (black and) blue states like California.
More at the San Jose Mercury News, "Death penalty proposition: Statement from No on Prop 34."