The majority of Americans favor the death penalty, survey finds

A survey released by the Pew Research Center found that the majority of Americans favor the death penalty in spite of many speculating that the execution of innocent people is likely.

In the survey, 64 percent of respondents agreed that when an individual commits a crime of murder against another person, the death penalty is morally justified.

The survey was conducted in April 2021.

Chart shows majority of Americans favor death penalty, but nearly eight-in-ten see ‘some risk’ of executing the innocent

“More Americans favor than oppose the death penalty: 60% of U.S. adults favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, including 27% who strongly favor it. About four-in-ten (39%) oppose the death penalty, with 15% strongly opposed,” according to the Pew report.

“The survey, conducted April 5-11 among 5,109 U.S. adults on the Center’s American Trends Panel, finds that support for the death penalty is 5 percentage points lower than it was in August 2020, when 65% said they favored the death penalty for people convicted of murder.”

Since 2019, not much has changed in views of the death penalty, the Pew results showed. Right-leaning voters, or Republicans, were the most likely to favor the death penalty.

“Republicans and Democrats also differ over whether the death penalty is morally justified, whether it acts as a deterrent to serious crime and whether adequate safeguards exist to ensure that no innocent person is put to death,” the Pew data also found.

“Republicans are 29 percentage points more likely than Democrats to say the death penalty is morally justified, 28 points more likely to say it deters serious crimes, and 19 points more likely to say that adequate safeguards exist.”

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