The percentage of Americans who believe in that the death penalty is applied fairly has dipped below 50 percent. Gallup’s findings, released October 22, mark the first time that this has happened since Gallup began asking the question in 2000.
While 49 percent of people still believe the death penalty is applied fairly, the percentage of people who believe that the death penalty is applied unfairly has climbed 45 percent—an all-time high. The numbers reflect a sharp drop in Democrats’ beliefs that the death penalty is applied fairly, while Republican views have held steady.
Growing public opposition to the death penalty has been reflected in some domestic and international policy changes. For example, on October 11 Washington State’s Supreme Court decided to ban the state’s death penalty on the grounds that it was disproportionately applied to people of color.