Unlike many other polls on the death penalty, the OpinionWorks survey found support for capital punishment to be similar among white and black voters. Nor, Raabe said, is there much of a gender gap, though men are slightly more likely to support capital punishment. There is a partisan difference, with Republicans opposing repeal 2-1 while Democrats and independents split almost evenly.

On assault weapons, the poll found strong support for a ban across racial, age and gender lines. The only region of the state where voters reject such a ban is Western Maryland. Democrats and independents strongly supported such a measure. Republicans were narrowly opposed.

The idea of limiting magazine size attracted even broader appeal, with even Republicans backing the idea by a 21-point margin.

Hatcher said the poll is bad news for the National Rifle Association and other opponents of limits on guns.

"When advocates have the opportunity to present specific, reasonable, common-sense proposals to control guns, there is overwhelming bipartisan support, and it's clear the NRA simply does not speak for the country," he said.

Smigiel said he isn't surprised by the strong numbers in favor of an assault weapons ban. He said most Marylanders don't know that the state defines the term based on how the gun looks, not on its firepower.

"People are afraid of the term 'assault weapon' because they don't know how it's being defined in Maryland," Smigiel said.

Gun control proponents contend a limit on magazine size could at least hold down the number of casualties in the case of a mass shooting such as the one that occurred in Newtown, Conn. But Smigiel called the proposal "absolutely crazy."

"Why do the police have 20- and 30-round clips? Because the threat of a bad guy may be such that they need it," he said. "The only ones who will have it are the bad guys and the police."

Raabe said the magazine proposal has strong enough public support that it could win support from some Republicans.

"This is as close to consensus as you can come on such a controversial issue as guns," he said.

Sun reporter Erin Cox contributed to this article.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com