Public Opinion on the Death Penalty

Publication placeholder

Public Opinion on the Death Penalty

Public officials in retentionist or de facto abolitionist countries often invoke public support for the death penalty as one of the reasons why they do not promote abolition. A closer look at this justification, however, reveals some common flaws. First, public officials tend to affirm strong public support for capital punishment without actually consulting the public, relying on general impressions or unreliable data. Second, even when public officials rely on opinion polls, these are often misleading and methodologically problematic. This note offers a critical assessment of public opinion polls on the death penalty and suggests tools to properly gauge the level of public support for the death penalty.

Public Opinion on the Death Penalty