50% of Americans Say Death Penalty Is Unfairly Applied

Last updated on: | Author: ProCon.org | MORE HEADLINES
Cite this page using APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian style guides

For the first time since Gallup began asking Americans if the death penalty is fairly applied in 2000, the percentage who believe the penalty is unfairly applied (50%) is higher than the percentage who believe the penalty is fairly applied (47%).

There is a partisan split, with 68% of Republicans saying capital punishment is fairly applied, while 46% of Independents and 28% of Democrats say the same. 

Public support for the death penalty is the lowest (53%) since Mar. 1972 (50%). Again, most Republicans support the punishment (81%), while Independents (51%) and Democrats (32%) offer less support. 

Overall, 39% of Americans think the death penalty is not used enough. 28% believe the penalty is used the right amount, and 28% believe the penalty is used too often.

The death penalty is legal at the federal level and in 27 states, though three have imposed moratoriums. 23 states and Washington, D.C., have banned the use of the death penalty. However, the United States is out of step internationally. Only 55 countries have legal capital punishment, while 112 have bans.

Four of the 2024 presidential candidates tracked by ProCon.org support the death penalty, while one opposes the practice.

1. Should the death penalty be legal? Why or why not?

2. Is the death penalty currently fairly applied? Explain your answer(s).

3. Is a candidate’s position on the death penalty an important factor in whether you support them? Why or why not?

Megan Brenan, “New 47% Low Say Death Penalty Is Fairly Applied in U.S.,” gallup.com, Nov. 6, 2023