Pew Research Center reports and data on capital punishment, including long-term trends on public opinion.
Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty
While a majority of U.S. adults still support the death penalty for persons convicted of murder, public support for capital punishment has been ticking downward for the past two decades.
Lower support for death penalty tracks with falling crime rates, more exonerations
Over the past half-century, public support for the death penalty has generally tracked increases and declines in rates of violent crime.
Support for death penalty drops among Americans
More than half of Americans favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder, down from 78% in 1996.
Continued Majority Support for Death Penalty
Public opinion about the death penalty has changed only modestly in recent years, but there continues to be far less support for the death penalty than there was in the mid-1990s.
The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election
In the last four national elections, generation has mattered more in American elections than it has in decades. This continues to be true as voters look ahead toward the 2012 general election. In a contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney, there is a 20-point gap in support for Obama between Millennials and the over-65 Silent generation.
Religious Beliefs and Political Issues
Religious beliefs continue to be influential in shaping some Americans’ views about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Far fewer cite religion as a top influence on issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty.
On the Court’s Docket: Child Rape and the Death Penalty
Is capital punishment for child rapists constitutional? On April 16, the Supreme Court will hear arguments pro and con. A legal expert discusses possible outcomes and implications of the case.
The Death Penalty in America
Religious communities have been deeply involved on both sides of the capital punishment issue. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in a case challenging use of lethal injection, a Pew Forum special report examines the history of the death penalty, arguments before the court and public opinion.
Trends in Attitudes Toward Religion and Social Issues: 1987-2007
As the ’08 elections approach, what are the views of Republicans, Democrats and the general public on “social values” issues? And how have they changed over time?
Lethal Injection Goes on Trial, But Goes On
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on a case brought by two Kentucky prisoners, who argue that the state’s lethal injection drug regimen exposes inmates to illegal cruel and unusual punishment. But – to the disappointment of death-penalty opponents – the use of lethal injection continues.