Forth the fourth time Gallups pollsters probed Americans on why they support or oppose the death penalty. Below is a summary. Click here for the full Gallup article.
Americans’ top reasons for supporting the death penalty, including most prominently that it is necessary to take “an eye for an eye” when a murder is committed, demonstrate that Americans are less concerned with using the tool as a deterrent for future crimes and more so with using it as a means of punishment.
For those who oppose the death penalty, moral and religious reasons such as it is “wrong to take a life” are most popular. Considering the numerous accounts of death-row inmates being found innocent through the use of DNA evidence, it may be surprising that wrongful conviction is only tied for second as a reason cited by death penalty opponents. Practical reasons like the cost of keeping a prisoner on death row — for decades, potentially — does not factor as much into why Americans oppose the death penalty. Additionally, few opponents cite cruelty as a reason for their beliefs, despite recent news stories of botched executions in which lethal injections did not work as planned.