Death Penalty Support Continues to Decrease

By Tommy Bryant
Journalism Guild Writer

America’s support for the death penalty dropped significantly in the last 20 years, according to a recent Gallup Poll.

Capital punishment support dipped from 80 percent in 1994 to 61 percent this year, the poll reported on Oct. 15.

Part of the reason is juries are less likely to impose death because of publicity on wrongful convictions and racial disparity, the poll reported.

“There is no denying that the death penalty is controversial …reflected, at least somewhat, by the deep racial divide it causes,” according to Andrew Dugan from Gallup.

Fifty-three percent of Americans polled feel that the death penalty is applied fairly and 41 percent believe it is not, says Gallup. Forty percent feel that the death penalty is not used often enough in America.

Gallup Poll also reflects that, “The death penalty appears to be losing popularity in statehouses and courthouses across the country.”

Pardons for once-condemned inmates, along with discrepancies in documentation and punishment applications, are beginning to influence juries and legislatures alike. This has led some juries and legislatures to ban more death penalty cases, the poll reported.

More than 55 percent of Blacks polled were opposed to the death penalty, 68 percent of Whites were in favor, and 56 percent of Hispanics were also for it, according to the Gallup report.

The poll indicated that 82 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats favored the death penalty.

The poll was based on 1,015 random sample of adult phone interviews living in all 50 states.

This poll had a 95 percent confidence level. It used 60 percent cell phones and 40 percent landlines.

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