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USA: GALLUP POLL — FOR FIRST TIME, MAJORITY OF AMERICANS PREFER LIFE SENTENCE TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

November 26, 2019:

For the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1985, a majority of Americans now say life imprisonment is a better approach for punishing murder than is the death penalty. According to the 2019 Gallup death-penalty poll, 60% percent of Americans asked to choose whether the death penalty or life without possibility of parole “is the better penalty for murder” chose the life-sentencing option. 36% favored the death penalty. The response reflects a 15-percentage-point shift in American’s views towards capital punishment in just five years. In 2014, the last time Gallup asked the question, 50% said the death penalty was the better approach to punishing murder, while 45% preferred life in prison. “This is a pretty dramatic shift in opinion,” Gallup Senior Editor Dr. Jeffrey Jones, who conducted the survey, told the Tulsa World. The shift away from capital punishment crossed partisan lines, though it was more pronounced among Democrats and Independents. In his analysis of the poll for Gallup, Jones wrote, “all key subgroups show increased preferences for life imprisonment. This includes increases of 19 points among Democrats, 16 points among independents, and 10 points among Republicans.” Gallup also surveyed Americans’ views of the death penalty in the abstract, asking respondents the yes or no question: “Are you in favor of the death penalty for a person convicted of murder?” For the second straight year, 56% said they favored the death penalty, while those opposing the death penalty increased by one percentage point to 42%. It was the second lowest level of support for the death penalty in 47 years, one point above the 55% who said they supported the death penalty in October 2017. Support for capital punishment peaked at 80% in 1994 and had been at 60% or above every year from 1976 through 2016. The last time public support for capital punishment polled lower was in March 1972, just before the U.S. Supreme Court declared U.S. death penalty statutes unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia. The 2019 poll showed a wide demographic preference for life, rather than the death penalty. Majorities of men and women, whites and non-whites, and all age and educational demographics responded that life without parole was a better approach than the death penalty for punishing murder. Non-whites (72%), young adults aged 18-34 (68%), women (66%), and college graduates (65%) most strongly preferred the life-sentencing option. Among party affiliations, 79% of Democrats and 60% of Independents chose life without parole as a better approach than the death penalty. 19% of Democrats and 35% of Independents preferred the death penalty. 58% of Republicans preferred the death penalty, with 38% saying life without parole was the better approach. Those considering themselves liberals or moderates preferred the life option by large margins (77% to 20%, and 65% to 32%, respectively). Conservatives were divided, narrowly preferring the death penalty, 51% to 46%. There were significant differences in each demographic category on the question of support for the death penalty in the abstract. 62% of men, but only 50% of women said they were in favor of the death penalty. 61% of white respondents were in favor of capital punishment, while 53% of non-whites were opposed. A bare majority of young adults, aged 18-34 said they opposed the death penalty (50%-49%), while 58% of those aged 35-54 and 59% of those 55 or older were in favor. College graduates narrowly opposed the death penalty (51%-48%), while 59% of those with some or no college education said they favored it. Views on the death penalty varied widely along political and ideological lines. Republicans strongly supported the death penalty, 80% to 18%. However, one quarter of those identifying themselves as conservatives said they were against the death penalty, reflecting the growing opposition to capital punishment among ideological conservatives. Democrats and those considering themselves liberals opposed the death penalty (61%-39% and 65%-34%, respectively), while Independents and those identifying as moderates favored the death penalty 53%-43%. The 24-percentage-point drop in public support for the death penalty coincides with a large national decline in death sentences and executions in the United States. New death sentences have fallen by 85% since the mid-1990s, when more than 300 new death sentences were imposed for three consecutive years. Annual executions have fallen by approximately 75% since peaking at 98 in 1999. Both death sentences and executions have declined by half since the start of this decade. The 2019 Gallup death penalty poll was administered in two parts. From October 1-13, Gallup asked a random sample of 1,526 Americans the question whether they were in favor of the death penalty. From October 14-31, Gallup asked a random sample of 1,506 Americans which of the two approaches to punishing murder they thought was better, the death penalty or life without possibility of parole. In 2018, Gallup asked Americans if they believed capital punishment was fairly applied in the United States. For the first time since the organization began asking that question in 2000, fewer than half of respondents said they believed the death penalty was fairly applied. Gallup did not include that question in the 2019 poll.

(Sources: Gallup, Washington Post, Tulsa World, 25/11/2019)

SRI LANKA: 35-YEAR-OLD SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER
SOMALIA: 2 AL SHABAAB MEMBERS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR AN ATTEMPTED BOMB ATTACK IN GURIEL TOWN
EUROPEAN BAR ASSOCIATIONS AWARD 2019 HUMAN RIGHTS PRIZE TO FOUR IRANIAN LAWYERS
SOUTH KOREA: SCHIZOPHRENIC KILLER SENTENCED TO DEATH
EGYPT: WOMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDERING CHILD
AFGHANISTAN: SOLDIER GIVEN DEATH SENTENCE FOR DELIBERATELY KILLING AN ARMY OFFICER
VIETNAM: 11 SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
BANGLADESH: 7 MILITANTS SENTENCED TO DEATH IN CAFE ATTACK
PAKISTAN: MODEL COURTS AWARDS DEATH SENTENCE TO SIX, RI TO 19 ACCUSED
MALAYSIA: FEDERAL COURT ACQUITS AUSTRALIAN WOMAN FACING DEATH PENALTY FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
VIETNAM: FOUR SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR TRAFFICKING 100 KG OF DRUGS
EGYPT: 7 DEATH SENTENCES HANDED DOWN ON TERROR CHARGES
SOMALIA: MILITARY COURT SENTENCES AL SHABAAB MEMBER TO DEATH FOR ROLE IN SUFI CLERIC KILLING
SINGAPORE: MALAYSIAN HANGED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
USA: WASHINGTON DISTRICT COURT ENJOINS U.S. GOVERNMENT FROM CARRYING OUT FEDERAL EXECUTIONS
PAKISTAN: FORMER BRIGADIER HANGED FOR SPYING
USA: FORMER STATE AND FEDERAL JUDGES, PROSECUTORS, AND LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS AND FAMILIES OF MURDER VICTIMS URGE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO CALL OFF EXECUTIONS
EGYPT: ANDHRA PRADESH MAN GETS DEATH FOR DRUG SMUGGLING
MALI: MURDERER OF IMAM SENTENCED TO DEATH
PAKISTAN: SEVEN SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER KIDNAP, MURDER OF 10TH GRADER
NIGERIA: NO GOVERNOR SUPPORTS DEATH PENALTY AS PUNISHMENT FOR HATE SPEECH
ZAMBIA: TWO MEN AND WOMAN CONDEMNED TO DEATH FOR MURDER OF THEIR 84-YEAR-OLD GRANNY
PAKISTAN: KARACHI COURT SENTENCES TWO MEN TO DEATH FOR MURDER
THAILAND: COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE FOR SPANISH MURDERER
SIERRA LEONE: 18-YEAR-OLD SENTENCED TO DEATH BY HANGING
EGYPT: COURT SENTENCES MESMARY TO DEATH, 32 OTHERS TO PRISON FOR BAHARIYA OASIS ATTACK
TEXAS (USA): RODNEY REED GRANTED INDEFINITE STAY OF EXECUTION
SAUDI ARABIA: DEATH FOR DAESH TERRORIST FOR KILLING SECURITY OFFICIAL
CHINA: TYCOON SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR FORMING A CRIMINAL SYNDICATE WITH TRIAD GANGSTERS
KENYA: POLICE OFFICER SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING THREE WHILE IN DRUNKEN STUPOR

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