USA: SUPPORT FOR DEATH PENALTY LOWEST IN FOUR DECADES
October 29, 2013: Support for the death penalty is at a four-decade low in the United States, though most Americans -- three out of five -- still favor it, a new Gallup poll out today found.
60% of Americans say they back capital punishment for convicted killers; that is the lowest figure since November 1972 when the death penalty had 57% of Americans' support, the survey found.
By 1994, eight in 10 Americans supported execution, a high from which it since has edged lower. Last year those âin favorâ were 63%. Today 35% are ânot in favorâ, and 5% have âno opinionâ.
Not in favor were 32% last year. Fifty-two percent of Americans believe the death penalty is applied fairly in the United States -- a smaller figure than the 60% who favor the death penalty. Forty percent believe the death penalty is applied unfairly.
Politics is a major dividing line in Americans' death penalty views -- 81% of Republicans currently favor it, compared with 47% of Democrats. Independents' 60% support matches the national average. Support among all three party groups has declined in the last 25 years, with the largest drop among Democrats. Democrats' level of support is currently down 28 percentage points from its 1994 peak and has fluctuated around the 50% mark for the last several years.
Independents' support has generally been in the 60% range since 2000, but was consistently above 70% from the late 1980s through 1999. Republicans' support has averaged 80% since 2000, but averaged a higher 85% from 1988-1999.
The survey was of 1,028 people from October 3-6. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four points. (Sources: Agence France-Presse, 29/10/2013)