Fewer U.S. adults support the death penalty
While the majority of U.S. adults still support the death penalty, the numbers of supporters are dropping as race and age demographics shift throughout the country.
A recently released 2013 Pew Research Center survey reports that while a majority of U.S. adults favor the death penalty, the percent is shrinking as more Americans oppose the punishment as public opinion continues to shift amidst changing national demographics.
Three years ago, 62 percent of U.S. adults favored the death penalty and 31 percent opposed it. In 2013, 55 percent said that they favored the death penalty while 37 percent oppose it, indicating that many adults may have changed their minds in the past few years. Support for the death penalty has been decreasing over the past 20 years.
Individuals who identified as Latino or Black were less likely to favor and more likely to oppose the death penalty. Half of Latinos surveyed said that they oppose the death penalty, while 40 percent favored it. Just 30 percent of white individuals surveyed opposed the death penalty.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 55 percent of death row inmates are Black or Latino, while 43 percent are white. As for victims of death penalty cases, 75 percent of the are white although 50 percent of murder victims are white. Of the cases where deceased convicts were found innocent over the past 40 years, a majority were Black or Latino.
Amnesty International has reported that one in five Black inmates were convicted by all-white juries. Black men are six times more likely to end up in prison than white men. Earlier this month, a death row inmate wrote a letter comparing prison to slavery.
Age and political affiliation also made a difference in support or condemnation of capital punishment. Younger adults between the ages of 18 and 29 were more likely to oppose than older adults, although a majority still favor the death penalty. Just 23 percent of Republicans oppose the death penalty compared to 47 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of Independents.