Poll Finds Majority Support for Life in Prison Over Death Penalty
A new poll by ABC News and the Washington Post found a majority (52%) of Americans prefer life without parole as punishment for convicted murderers, with just 42% preferring the death penalty. This is the first time that this poll has found a majority support for life without parole over the death penalty. Without an alternative sentence offered, support for the death penalty was 61%, equaling the lowest level of support in polls going back to the early 1980s, and showing a significant drop since support for the death penalty peaked at 80% in 1994. Even among those who said they support the death penalty in the abstract, 29% preferred the alternative of life without parole when offered a choice between the two punishments. In states that do not have capital punishment, respondents were more likely to prefer life without parole (58%), with only 38% selecting the death penalty. Among the groups that had stronger than average support for life without parole were women (57%), nonwhites (65%), and Democrats (67%).