Poll: Majority of Americans in support of death penalty

This comes despite widespread concern that enough safeguards are in place to prevent executing the innocent


By Sarah Sinning

A majority of Americans are in favor of the death penalty, despite concerns about its fairness, the risk of harming innocent people, and whether it actually deters serious crimes.

According to a recently released poll from the Pew Research Center, 60% of U.S. adults favor the death penalty for those convicted of murder, including 27% who strongly support it.

This is, however, five percentage points lower than in August of last year, when 65% expressed support.

The poll also found that 78% of respondents had concerns about putting an innocent person to death, with only 21% believing there are adequate safeguards in place to prevent this from happening. 

A majority (56%) also believe that Black Americans are more likely than white people to be sentenced to death.

Sixty-three percent said capital punishment does not deter people from committing serious crimes.

Pew surveyed 5,109 adults between April 5-11. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

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