The murder trial of Scott Peterson (search) is currently underway, and most Americans remain convinced that he is responsible for the death of his pregnant wife Laci, according to a new Fox Poll. Even so, the public is uncertain whether Peterson will be convicted.
Today a clear majority (61 percent) believes that Peterson was involved in his wife’s murder, down from 69 percent in polling conducted soon after he was charged (April 2003). Thirty-nine percent think Peterson was “definitely” involved and 22 percent say “probably,” while 33 percent are unsure. Only six percent think Peterson was not involved.
Women are much more likely than men to think Peterson was involved in Laci’s death. Nearly seven in ten women (67 percent) believe Peterson was involved, four percent say "no" and 29 percent are unsure.
Men are less likely to think Peterson is guilty, and are more likely to express uncertainty over his involvement. While over half of men (55 percent) think he was involved, seven percent think he was not and almost four in 10 (38 percent) are unsure.
Opinion Dynamics Corporation (search) conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for Fox News on June 8-9.
Even though most of the public agrees Peterson was involved in his wife’s murder, opinion is divided on whether he will be convicted. Thirty-eight percent of Americans think Peterson will be convicted of the crime, and 22 percent believe he will not be. Forty percent are unable to say which way the trial will go.
While most women are sure of Peterson’s guilt, they are less likely to believe he will be convicted. Compared to the two-thirds who think Peterson was involved, only 37 percent of women expect he will be found guilty. Nearly a quarter of women think he will walk away from the trial a free man.
In contrast, although men are not as convinced as women that Peterson was involved in his wife’s murder, they are slightly more likely than women to believe he will be convicted (40 percent). One in five men believe Peterson will be acquitted and 41 percent are not sure.
Polling was conducted by telephone June 8-9, 2004 in the evenings. The total sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points.
1. Based on what you know right now, do you think Scott Peterson was involved in the murder of his pregnant wife Laci? Is that definitely (involved/not involved) or probably (involved/not involved)?
SCALE: 1. Yes, definitely involved 2. Yes, probably involved 3. No, probably not involved 4. No, definitely not involved 5. (Not sure)
|8-9 Jun 04||61%||39||22||3||3||6||33|
|21-22 Jan 04||65%||36||29||4||1||5||30|
|28-29 Oct 03||72%||47||25||3||1||4||24|
|17-18 Jun 03||65%||41||24||4||1||5||30|
|3-4 Jun 03||58%||31||27||4||1||5||37|
|6-7 May 03||67%||43||24||2||1||3||30|
|22-23 Apr 03||69%||43||26||2||-||2||29|
2. Regardless of how you feel about Scott Peterson’s guilt or innocence, do you think he will or will not be convicted of murdering his wife?
SCALE: 1. Will be convicted 2. Will not be convicted 3. (Not sure)
|Will be convicted||Will not be convicted||(NS)|
|8-9 Jun 04||38%||22||40|
3. Do you think O.J. Simpson murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman?
|8-9 Jun 04||66%||13||21|
|7-8 Jun 00||68%||12||20|
|11-12 Nov 98||72%||14||14|
|18-19 Sep 96||66%||14||20|