The poll, conducted by non-partisan Poll Position, showed 52 percent of Americans said state governors should not be able to pardon or commute the sentence of a convicted killer, 28 percent said governors should have that right and 22 percent did not have an opinion.
The survey was conducted in response to public outrage after outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour gave pardons or early releases to more than 200 state prisoners, including four convicted killers.
Poll Position found African-Americans were most against a governor having the power to pardon convicted killers -- 56 percent were against it, 22 percent said yes and 22 percent had no opinion. Fifty-one percent of whites were against governors have such pardon power, 31 percent approved and 18 percent had no opinion.
A majority of both Democrats and Republicans were against a state governor having the right to pardon convicted killers, with 55 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of Republicans opposed to the idea.
A telephone survey of 1,179 registered voters was conducted Jan. 15 to provide the results, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.