Gallup Poll: Support for Death Penalty Remains Near 25-Year Low

The latest Gallup Poll on the death penalty shows 65% of Americans support the death penalty, significantly lower than the 80% support recorded in 1994 and near the lowest support of 64% in the past 25 years recorded last year. Only 57% believe the death penalty is fairly applied, and 59% of Americans believe that an innocent person has been executed in the last five years. Gallup reported that support for the death penalty is lower if Americans are offered an explicit alternative, such as life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole. The last time that Gallup offered such alternatives in 2006, only 47% preferred the death penalty, while 48% supported life imprisonment with no parole.

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(F. Newport, “In U.S., Two-Thirds Continue to Support Death Penalty,” Gallup Press Release, October 13, 2009). To see other surveys and reports, visit our Studies page. See also Public Opinion.