Last week brought wonderful news for death penalty opponents – according to a Pew Research survey, fewer than half of Americans now favor using the death penalty! Overall support for capital punishment has plummeted in the last 18 months, from 56% Americans supportive in March last year, to just 49% now, continuing an ongoing decline. Support is now at its lowest since 1972, when the US death penalty was suspended, before being reinstated in 1976.
The identified group that has the lowest support for capital punishment is African Americans (only 29% in favor). No doubt many in this group understand only too well the death penalty’s connection with racist lynchings. Amongst Hispanic people, support is 36%; among white people it is 57%.
Democratic voters seem to have been the main drivers of opposition to the death penalty, with only 34% favoring the death penalty now (37 percentage points down from 71% in support 20 years ago), as opposed to 72% Republicans in favor of it now (just 15 points down from 87% supportive 20 years ago).
The death penalty has lost majority support and is continuing to lose its grip. We hope this good news has reached Willie Manning and the many others with death sentences across America. We hope it brings Willie some cheer.