Americans Show Lowest Support for Death Penalty in 15 Years

Carrie Dedrick | Thursday, June 5, 2014

Americans Show Lowest Support for Death Penalty in 15 Years

New statistics suggest that American support of capital punishment is at a 15-year low. According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, only 42 percent of Americans support the death penalty, while 52 percent favored the alternative of life in prison without parole.

When an alternative was not given, 61 percent of respondents favored the death penalty, the smallest number of supporters since 2007.

The poll followed the recent failed execution in Oklahoma, where a new combination of drugs given to a prisoner caused convulsions and finally a heart attack; critics called the event inhumane and use of “cruel and unusual punishment.”  

After the botched execution in Oklahoma, 80 percent who remain in support of capital punishment would prefer that the U.S. use a different method of execution, such as an electric chair or gas chamber.

Other survey findings include a greater rate of support for the death penalty in states where it is legal and a greater percentage of men in favor of capital punishment than women.

The survey was conducted by telephone polling 1,002 adults.


Publication date: June 5, 2014