Poll: Majority of Americans Support the Death Penalty

It's the age-old death penalty debate: A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 62% favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 31% are opposed.

Support for the death penalty reached a historic high point in 1996, when 78% favored capital punishment for people convicted of murder. But that number declined to 66% in 2001 and has remained in the low-to-mid 60s ever since.

When Gallup first asked about the death penalty in 1936, 59% supported the policy, and this number fell to an all-time of 42% in 1966.

Interestingly, there is a racial difference in support for capital punishment. The death penalty continues to draw much more support from whites (68%) than from African Americans (40%). Among Hispanics, 52% favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder while 42% are opposed.

Join the discussion: How do you feel about the death penalty? Why do you support it (retribution, cost of prison, deterrence, etc.) and under what circumstances? On what grounds do you oppose it (i.e. legal, moral, health, etc.)?

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