Sup­port for death penalty fall­ing in United States: poll

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Sup­port for the death penalty in the United States has fallen to its low­est level in 40 years, though most Amer­i­cans still fa­vor cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment for mur­der.

The find­ing came from a sur­vey pub­lished Thurs­day, just days be­fore the sen­tenc­ing phase of the trial that will de­ter­mine whether Bos­ton bomber Dzhokhar Tsar­naev, 21, is sen­tenced to death or life in pri­son.

The Pew Re­search Cen­ter found 56 per­cent fa­vor the death penalty for peo­ple con­victed of mur­der, down six per­cent since 2011, while 38 per­cent are op­posed.

The sur­vey found that nearly two thirds, 63 per­cent, be­lieve the death penalty is morally jus­ti­fied for a crime like mur­der. Just 31 per­cent said it is morally wrong even in cases of mur­der.

In 1996, 78 per­cent fa­vored the death penalty and sup­port for cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment was of­ten above 70 per­cent through­out much of the 1980s and 1990s, the cen­ter said.

Much of the fall­ing sup­port comes from Democrats. Cur­rently, 56 per­cent of Democrats are op­posed to the death penalty. In 1996, Democrats fa­vored cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment by 71 to 25 per­cent.

Pew said there had been less change among Repub­li­cans, 77 per­cent of re­spon­dents who iden­tify with the more con­ser­va­tive party fa­vor the death penalty down from 87 per­cent in 1996.

The sur­vey was based on tele­phone in­ter­views con­ducted with 1,500 adults across the United States be­tween March 25-29. It car­ried an over­all mar­gin of er­ror of 2.9 per­cent.

Twelve pris­on­ers on death row have been ex­e­cuted in the United States so far this year.

Tsar­naev was con­victed last week of car­ry­ing out the April 2013 bomb­ings in Bos­ton that killed three peo­ple and wounded 264 oth­ers.

Seven­teen of his 30 con­vic­tions carry the death penalty un­der fed­eral law. No one has been ex­e­cuted in Mas­sachusetts since 1947.

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