Poll: 75 Percent Oppose Sanders on Letting All Prisoners Vote

Sen. Bernie Sanders / Getty Images

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A large majority of Americans disagree with Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) stance that all prisoners should be allowed to vote in the United States, even those behind bars for violent crimes like the Boston Marathon bomber.

Business Insider poll found 75 percent of respondents opposed enfranchising all inmates, with just 15 percent saying they supported it. The poll found about 35 percent supported giving the vote to incarcerated persons in some capacity. Twenty-four percent said violent felons should lose their right to vote permanently.

Sanders said at a CNN town hall last week that even "terrible people" should have the right to vote from prison, after being asked if people like convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be given back the franchise.

"If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they're going to be punished," Sanders said. "They may be in jail for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, their whole lives. That's what happens when you commit a serious crime, but I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people."

He'd made the point previously on a Fox News town hall to less attention, saying even murderers and rapists in prison for life shouldn't lose that right.

Other Democratic presidential candidates backed off Sanders's stance. Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) initially said she would be open to a "conversation" on the topic before quickly backtracking the next day. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he opposed Sanders.

The Republican National Committee released an ad ripping Sanders for his views on prisoners voting, calling them "just wrong."

Sanders has repeatedly boasted that his views that were considered "radical" when he ran in 2016 now dominate the mainstream of the Democratic Party. He is one of the top contenders for the 2020 nomination, currently jockeying with former Vice President Joe Biden at the top of early polls for primary voters.

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