NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., June 7 (UPI) -- More than half of New Jersey residents say Dharun Ravi deserves a longer sentence for spying on his gay roommate, a poll released Thursday indicated.
The poll done by Rutgers University for The (Newark) Star-Ledger found 39 percent of those surveyed said the 30-day jail term was right. Only 7 percent said Ravi was punished too harshly.
Ravi of Plainsboro, N.J., and Tyler Clementi of Ridgewood, N.J., had just started their freshman year at Rutgers when Ravi used a webcam to spy on Clementi, who was having an amorous encounter with an older man. A few days later, Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge.
The case attracted an extraordinary amount of attention, with only 3 percent of those polled saying they had not been following it.
"To have only 3 percent say they'd heard nothing about the case is very unusual," David Redlawsk, the poll director and a political science professor at Rutgers, told The Star-Ledger. "The story really captured their attention."
Democrats and Republicans and respondents of all races had about the same reaction. Younger people, especially those of college age, were somewhat more likely to say Ravi should have received a longer sentence, as were those describing themselves as born-again Christians, while recent immigrants were slightly more likely to call the sentence too stiff.
Ravi recently surrendered to begin serving the sentence. Prosecutors are appealing it, saying state guidelines called for a harsher one.
The telephone survey of 1,191 adults was conducted May 31-June 4. No margin of error was given.