Death Penalty Loses Majority Support for First Time in 45 Years

By:  Niraj Chokshi

For the first time in almost half a century, support for the death penalty has dipped below 50 percent in the United States.

Just 49 percent of Americans say they support capital punishment,according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted from late August to early September. That represents a seven-point decline in about a year and a half. Support peaked at 80 percent in 1994.

The death penalty has had majority support among Americans for 45 years. The last time support was as low as it now stands was in 1971. Pew has surveyed Americans on the subject for the past two decades and relies on the polling organization Gallup for older data.

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