Bottom Line

The majority of Americans continue to support the use of the death penalty as the punishment for murder. Most Americans (71%) also say the death penalty is used either about the right amount or not often enough.

While Americans generally agree that the death penalty is not a deterrent, and, as previous Gallup research has shown, widely acknowledge that some innocent people have been executed, most nevertheless support the death penalty as punishment for murder. The reason is very likely their concept of justice. According to a 2003 Gallup study, close to half of Americans who supported the death penalty cited some aspect of retribution for the crime as the reason.

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