Voters in North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida do not support current bail reform policies
WASHINGTON, D.C. August 22, 2018 – Today, United Bail of America (UBA) released results from a public opinion poll that shows an overwhelming lack of support for current bail reform policies across the Southeast. Voters from all political parties in North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida oppose bail reform that would require taxpayers to fund pretrial services.
“The elimination of commercial bail has been proposed across the country by politicians and activist groups, supported by dark money and billionaires,” said Don Mescia, executive director at UBA. “But, the results of this poll give us a better idea of what voters really want. Southern voters – no matter their political affiliation – don’t want to pay for criminal defendants to be released without the accountability that commercial bail offers.”
The poll was conducted to measure attitudes toward current policies and proposals related to bail reform. Major findings include:
68.5 percent of Southern voters oppose the use of tax dollars to pay for the release of criminal defendants who are indigent, meaning they cannot afford to pay their own bail;
56.4 percent of Southern voters oppose the use of tax dollars to pay for the release of criminal defendants who have been charged with a non-violent crime;
82 percent of Southern voters oppose the use of tax dollars to pay for the release of criminal defendants who have previously failed to appear in court; and
Only 30.8 percent of Southern voters think the current bail system is in need of reform.
A demographic analysis of the results shows that both Democrats and Republicans oppose bail reform that would use tax dollars to pay for the release of indigent criminal defendants at 58 percent and 82.9 percent of those polled, respectively.
Democratic voters are almost split on whether or not they believe tax dollars should be used to pay for the release of criminal defendants who have been charged with a non-violent crime, with 42.8 percent supporting this type of bail reform. More than 70 percent of Republicans polled do not support the use of tax dollars to pay for the release of non-violent offenders.
Of voters polled, 77.1 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of Republicans agree that tax dollars should not be used to pay for the release of criminal defendants who have previously failed to appear for their court date.
“Typically, commercial bail is reserved for defendants who cannot be trusted to show up for court and stay out of trouble if released on their own recognizance, or have shown a pattern of criminal behavior,” said Mescia. “The results of this poll make it clear that voters agree the current bail system works.”
Bail Reform Poll Results by State
Bail Reform Poll Results by Party
Poll results for additional demographics, including ethnicity, income and age, are available upon request at both the national and state levels for North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana.
Gottlieb Strategic Research fielded the poll with the purpose of measuring attitudes toward policy and proposals related to bail reform. The smartphone-based survey was in the field for the month of June, and the margin of error for each state is:
North Carolina: N= 400 MOE = +/- 4.9%
South Carolina: N= 400 MOE = +/- 5.7%
Louisiana: N= 400 MOE = +/- 5.7%
Florida: N= 400 MOE = +/- 4.9%
ABOUT UNITED BAIL OF AMERICA
Serving all surety agents, United Bail of America, was created to give agents a voice in an ever-growing national discourse on criminal justice reform. We work to build national, commonsense regulations and legislation, while combating misinformation and bias in the media.
United Bail of America is a reasoned voice among critics of the commercial bail industry and strives to support our agents, state associations and national efforts to confront rhetoric with fact, while educating the wider pubic about the services of our agents and the important role commercial bail plays in the criminal justice system.
For more information, please visit www.unitedbailofamerica.org.