WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Support for the death penalty has reached its lowest level since 1972.

According to a new Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans currently favor the death penalty for convicted murderers – the lowest level of support since November 1972, when 57 percent of Americans were for it.

Support for the death penalty among Americans peaked in 1994 at 80 percent, but has gradually declined since.

“Gallup’s nearly 80-year history of measuring death penalty attitudes shows that Americans generally favor the practice, but there have been distinct eras of higher or lower support,” Gallup stated. “And state and federal laws, as well as legal rulings, have tended to move in concert with public opinion. Support is now the lowest in four decades, and a growing number of states have taken action to abolish the death penalty.”

Along political lines, 81 percent of Republicans favor the death penalty, while only 47 percent of Democrats do. Independents support the death penalty at a 60 percent clip.

Gallup additionally found that 52 percent of Americans believe the death penalty is applied fairly, while 40 percent believe it is applied unfairly.

Forty-four percent of Americans believe that the death penalty is not imposed often enough.

Gallup polled 1,028 adults between Oct. 3 and Oct. 6.


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