This May, a Gallup poll showed that only 58% of respondents find the death penalty morally acceptable, a 7% drop from last year and the lowest number since the morality question was first asked in 2001.
This follows a 2010 poll from the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) that showed, when given choices, two-thirds support alternatives to the death penalty. Gallup’s non-morality based poll on the death penalty in 2011, which didn’t offer alternatives, still showed the lowest support for capital punishment since 1972. That poll was conducted soon after the controversial September 21st execution of Troy Davis despite serious doubts about his guilt.
The question of innocence
Is the drop in belief in the morality of the death penalty related to a growing belief that the innocent can be executed? There have been 140 people exonerated from U.S. death row since 1973.