A recent poll by the Pew Research Center shows support for the death penalty has dropped sharply by 23 percentage points since 1996.
The 2013 poll shows that support for the death penalty has reached its lowest level (55 percent) in almost 20 years. In just the last two years, the percentage of respondents who say they “strongly favor” the death penalty has dropped 10 points, from 28 to just 18 percent.
The percentage of Americans who oppose the death penalty has grown to 37 percent, a dramatic increase of nearly 20 points from 1996, when just 18 percent opposed capital punishment.
The continuing decline in public support for capital punishment coincides with a decrease in use of the death penalty during the same time period, with both death sentences and executions falling dramatically since the 1990s. Six states have abolished the death penalty in the last six years.