The number of U.S. adults who believe capital punishment is morally acceptable is at an all-time low, according to a Gallup report published June 23.
A slim majority (54%) said the death penalty was “morally acceptable.” In 2012 and 2017, the previous lows, affirmation was at 58%. The all-time high was 71% in 2006.
Respondents who say capital punishment is “morally wrong” reached an all-time high of 40%, a 5-point increase from 2019, which had tied the previous all-time high from 2017.
Conservative respondents (67%) were most likely to affirm the death penalty as morally acceptable, which is one point above the all-time low of support in 2016.
By comparison, 56% of moderates and 37% of liberals affirmed capital punishment as morally acceptable – an all-time low for both groups.
Of the other 21 moral issues polled in the survey, birth control (90%), drinking alcohol (86%) and divorce (77%) had the highest levels of respondents say they are morally acceptable, while suicide (18%), cloning humans (12%) and married people having an affair (9%) had the lowest levels of moral acceptability.
“Over Gallup’s two decades of measurement, Americans’ views have changed the most on gay or lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, sex between an unmarried man and woman, divorce and human embryonic stem cell research,” the report said. “Moral acceptance of each of these issues has grown by double digits since the early 2000s.”
The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4 percent. The full report is available here.
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