Poll: Majority of Americans Favor Death Penalty

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2014, file photo, Department of Corrections officials look through a window from the witness room, at right, outside the newly renovated death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. Even as President Barack Obama tries to make a hard case for sentencing …
AP Photo

poll from the Pew Research Center released Tuesday shows that the majority of Americans favor the death penalty for serious convictions like murder.

The survey of more than 5,000 American adults revealed that 60 percent believe capital punishment is suitable for individuals convicted of murder, with 27 percent signaling strong support. Of those surveyed, 39 percent stated they oppose the death penalty.

Sixty-four percent of respondents who took part in the survey, along with 90 percent of those who strongly signaled support for the death penalty, said executions are morally justified in such cases as murder. Of those who do not support the death penalty, only a quarter said it is morally justified in cases such as murder.

The majority of Republicans who took part in the poll, 77 percent, overwhelmingly support the death penalty, while only 46 percent of surveyed Democrats support capital punishment.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 23 states have outlawed the death penalty, most recently Virginia, which abolished the practice earlier this year. Twenty-seven states still embrace capital punishment. Three states — California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania — have gubernatorial moratoria, which means the governor’s office has suspended a decision made by a higher court.

Since 1977, a total of 1,533 executions have taken place in America, with most of those cases involving serious convictions like murder.

The poll outlined above gathered responses from 5,109 adults from April 5 to 11. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.1 percentage points.

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