International Polls and Studies

Country(-ies) Date Issues
United Kingdom 3/15 UK Support for Death Penalty Falls Below 50% For First Time
Australia 9/14 slight majority support use of death penalty for deadly terrorist acts
Britain 8/14 less than half of Britons support reintroduction of death penalty
Russia 7/14 fewer Russian citizens support death penalty
Japan 2/10 favor use of the death penalty
Australia 10/07 most continue to oppose the death penalty
Brazil 4/07 favor instituting death penalty
Finland 11/06 split over use of death penalty
Mexico 9/06 split over use of death penalty
France 9/06 declining support
Brazil 8/06 more favor death penalty
Peru 8/06 favor reinstating the death penalty
South Africa 5/06 favor reinstating the death penalty
Dominican Republic 4/06 favor reinstating the death penalty for certain crimes
Britain 2/06 lukewarm support for the death penalty
UK and Canada 2/06 Death Penalty support lowest among youth in US, UK and Canada
Australia 12/05 support abolition of death penalty
Czech Republic 11/05 death penalty debate divided
Italy 10/05 most Italians oppose the death penalty
Russia 7/06 support for capital punishment high
Japan 2/05 most favor death penalty
Japan 12/04 Support levels, Respect for Victims
New Zealand 07/04 DNA testing, support levels, crime laws
South Korea 03/04 deterrence, administration, victim's families
UK and Canada 10/03 declining support
United Kingdom 08/02 declining support
Canada 09/01 declining support, life without parole
Canada 02/01 declining support, wrongful convictions
Canada 12/98 declining support, life without parole


  • For the first time ever, support for the death penalty in the United Kingdom fell below 50%. In 2014, 54% of surveyed Britons supported the death penalty "for some crimes". This question was asked as part of the yearly British Social Attitudes survey. In 1983, when the annual survey began, support for the death penalty in the United Kingdom was at 75%. (British Social Attitudes, March 26, 2015)

  • A slight majority of surveyed Australians support the use of the death penalty in terrorism cases. According to an Australian SMS Morgan poll, when asked "If a person is convicted of a terrorist act in Australia which kills someone, should the penalty be death?" 52.5% of respondents favored use of the death penalty in such cases  while 47.5% did not favor its use. (Roy Morgan Research, September 19, 2014)

  • Less than half of surveyed Britons support reintroduction of the death penalty. According to a YouGov poll of 2,000 people, 45 percent were in favor of capital punishment. Opposition to reintroduction among 18-24 year olds was at 52 percent. In that same age range, 57 percent believed that abolition was a good thing. Only 45 percent believed that capital punishment deterred others from committing murder. 41 percent believed that capital punishment was NOT a deterrent. (The Guardian, August 12, 2014)

  • Fewer Russian citizens support death penalty  According to the survey held on June 20-23 in 134 cities, towns and villages in 46 Russian regions among 1,600 respondents, currently 52 percent Russians support death penalty, and 61 percent and 73 percent people shared this stance in 2012 and 2002 respectively. A total of 34 percent Russian citizens said that death penalty application should be left the way it is now, while 18 percent said they were in favor of expanding it. In the past two years the share of death penalty opponents grew from 24 percent to 33 percent, sociologists said. The number of people absolutely opposed to capital punishment remains almost unchanged - 9 percent respondents said in December 2010 they supported cancelling the death penalty completely, 10 percent in 2012 and 7 percent share this stance now, the poll showed. At the same time, more respondents support gradual capital punishment cancellation - from 14 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2014, sociologists said. (Russia Beyond the Headlines, July 14, 2014)

  • Record 85 % of people in Japan favor death penalty The percentage of people in favor of the death penalty has reached a record high, with 85.6 % of survey respondents saying capital punishment is "unavoidable," according to a government poll released Saturday. About 55 % of respondents described the extension of the statute of limitations for capital crimes, including murder, to 25 years from 15 years in 2005 under the revised Code of Criminal Procedure, as "too short." Of those who said the period is too short, 49.3 % said the statute of limitations should be abolished, according to the survey. The proportion of respondents in favor of the death penalty rose by 4.2 % points from the previous survey in 2004, indicating that the number of people who hold such a view has been steadily increasing since posting 73.8 % in the 1st survey. Only 5.7 % said the death penalty should be abolished, down 0.3 point from the 2004 poll. (Japan Times, February 7, 2010)

  • 2/3 of people in Australia believe people convicted of murder should not face the death penalty, according to a poll by Roy Morgan International. 67 % of respondents think the punishment for this crime should be imprisonment, down 2 points since December 2005. The last execution in Australian soil was carried out in 1967, and capital punishment was abolished in 1985. On Oct. 8, Robert McClelland—the opposition's Australian Labor Party (ALP) foreign affairs spokesman—said an ALP government would campaign against the death penalty across Asia, in coordination with 5 Asian nations that have abolished the maximum penalty. McClelland said that in order for this to be possible, "At the highest levels, Australia's public comments about the death penalty must be consistent with policy. (…) This is especially the case if we are going to tactfully and successfully drive a regional abolitionist movement." Australian prime minister John Howard, leader of the conservative Coalition of Liberals and Nationals, has said he opposes capital punishment at home and for Australians overseas, but supports the death penalty for terrorists. Polling Data: Next about the penalty for murder. In your opinion, should the penalty for murder be death or imprisonment?
    Oct. 2007: Death Penalty 24%, Imprisonment 67%, Can’t Say 9%
    Dec. 2005: Death Penalty 25% Imprisonment 69%, Can’t Say 7% (Angus Reid Global Monitoring: October 22, 2007)
  • Brazilians' support for death penalty at 14-year high - 55 % of Brazilians support instituting the death penalty, which does not exist in Brazil, according to the Datafolha survey published in the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Brazil's largest. That matches the rate reached in 1993, Datafolha said. The lowest rate was 48 % in 2000. The polling institute's first survey on the issue was in 1991. Datafolha said it interviewed 5,700 people across Brazil on March 19-20, and the survey had a margin of error of 2 % points. During the last survey in August 2006, 51 % of Brazilians favored the death penalty (Associated Press: April 8, 2007).
  • Only 1 of 3 Support the Death Penalty In Finland - A fresh survey indicates that 29 % of Finns would approve of the death penalty as a punishment for certain crimes committed during peacetime. Whereas 36 % of men would support the death penalty, only 22 % of women found it acceptable. Almost 41 % of those aged 35 to 49 are in favour of capital punishment. (Helsingin Sanomat, Suomen Gallup: November 21, 2006)
  • Only Forty Percent of the French Favor the Death Penalty On September 16th, 2006 TNS Sofres released a poll regarding the death penalty in France. Twenty-five years ago France abolished the death penalty, eventhough 62% of the French people supported capital punishment at that time. Currently, only 42% favor reinstating the death penalty, 52% are against reinstatement, and 6% have no opinion. (, September 18, 2006)
  • Gallup Review Compares Support for Capital Punishment Among Countries - An examination of recent Gallup surveys in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada found that Americans are more supportive of the death penalty than are either Britons or Canadians. An October 2005 poll of Americans measured support for the death penalty at 64%, a figure that was significantly higher than the 44% support measured in Canada and the 49% support found in Great Britain during December 2005 polls. Support for the death penalty recently declined in both Great Britain and Canada, but remained the same in the U.S. as in 2003. (Nevertheless, American support for the death penalty is equal to its lowest level in 27 years.) In all three nations, support for capital punishment was lowest among those who were 18-29 years old. (Gallup Poll press release, "Death Penalty Gets Less Support From Britons, Canadians Than Americans," February 20, 2006).
  • Poll Shows Limited Growth in Support Despite Recent Crimes in Japan A recent government survey revealed that despite a recent rush of violent crimes in Japan, support for capital punishment had only risen by 2.1 percent, to 81.4%. The same poll, taken in December 2004, showed that 70.6% of respondents believed that the rights of victims were not respected during the investigations or the trial. 31.8% of respondents also believed that the death penalty would be abolished in the future. (The Japan Times, February 20, 2005)
  • Poll shows Limited Support for Death Penalty in New Zealand A poll by the One News Network and Colmar Brunton Polls showed that of 1,000 New Zealanders, only 28% were in favor of reinstituting the death penalty, against 67% who did not want the practice resumed. 58% of respondents wanted parole laws made more strict, and 28% wanted parole abolished altogether. Also addressed was the use of DNA testing, which 58% of those asked wanted the practice made mandatory. When asked about the death penalty, Justice Minister Phil Goff said that to "take the life of an innocent person is the worst thing that a state can do to its citizens," and as such the justice system could not always guarantee that it had convicted the right person. (Otago Daily Times, New Zealand, July 15, 2004)
  • Koreans Favor Cautious Use, Question Benefits to Victim's Families Results from a state-conducted survey released in March show that 65% of South Koreans believe that the death penalty should remain law. However, only 49% found the practice to be effective in preventing crime, and 58% believed that the country must use caution in administering the punishment. An overwhelming 90% believed that the death penalty provided no benefit for the families of victims. (Korea Times, March 23, 2004)
  • Poll Reveals Declining Support for Death Penalty A Gallup Poll conducted in October, 2003, in the United States, Great Brittain, and Canada shows declining support in the countries for the practice. Canada's support for the death penalty has dropped from 53% to 48% in the two years since the citizens of Canada were last polled. Support in the United Kingdom dropped modestly to 55% supporting the death penalty, after only one year. A study of homicide rates in those countries revealed no scientific evidence to support arguments that the punishment was a deterrent; in Canada, there were 160 fewer murders in 2001 than occurred in 1975, the year before Canada abolished their use of the death penalty. (Gallup Poll Briefing, March 16, 2004)
  • Support for Death Penalty Has Declined in the United Kingdom An article in The Guardian noted that British support for capital punishment has dropped since 1995. A MORI poll of residents in the United Kingdom found that, even in the wake of revelations about the recent murder of two young girls, public support for the death penalty remains low. In 1995, when the issue of reinstating the death penalty was debated and subsequently defeated in Parliament, 76% of British respondents supported the death penalty. A poll taken after the highly-publicized child murders found only 56% support for capital punishment. (The Guardian, August 21, 2002). See also, International Death Penalty
  • A survey of Canadians found that 52.9% of respondents supported capital punishment, while 43% opposed it. This marks a significant shift in public opinion since 1995, when an Angus Ried poll found 69% supported reinstating the death penalty in Canada. The new poll also found that support for capital punishment dropped even further, to 37.6%, when respondents were offered the alternative sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. "It's a really important drop," said Jean-Marc Leger, head of the polling firm. "Canadians' perceptions of the death penalty have changed in the last few years." (Canada Press, 9/16/01)
  • A recent Ipsos-Reid poll for the Toronto Globe and Mail and CTV shows that support for capital punishment has fallen to 52% among Canadians - down from 69% in 1995 and 73% in 1987. The poll also showed a rise in opposition to the death penalty to 46% - up from 24% in 1987 and 29% in 1995. Ipsos-Reid spokesperson Darrell Brickier suggested that the decline in support is due to increasing media attention on the issue of wrongful convictions. Canadian legislators outlawed the death penalty in 1976. (Toronto Globe and Mail, 2/16/01) See also, International Death Penalty.
  • Although previous opinion polls have indicated over 70% support for the death penalty in Canada, that support has dramatically dropped. A poll showed an even split on the death penalty generally, with 48% supporting it and 47% opposing it. When asked which sentence they would favor for the most serious crimes, 53% supported a life sentence and only 42% supported the death penalty. (Montreal Gazette, 12/31/98).