Public opinion on the death penalty

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

As of May 2017, capital punishment is legal in 31 U.S. states. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 20 people were executed in the United States in 2016, the lowest number since 1991. Georgia saw the highest number of executions in 2016 — nine cases, according to the information published at

In 2016, seven people were executed in Texas, while two people were executed in Alabama. Both Missouri and Florida only had one execution.


Now let’s have a look at the graph showing the opinions of surveyed American citizens on the imposition of the death penalty. In 2016, about 37 percent of respondents stated that they did not support the death penalty. Around 60 percent of the people surveyed supported the death penalty and 3 percent of the respondents had no opinion at all.

In the previous year, a slightly larger percentage of people in the U.S. supported the death penalty — 61 percent in 2015, compared to 60 percent in 2016. In 2014, around 33 percent of surveyed people in the United States said that they don’t support the death penalty, while 63 percent of people supported it. The percentage of people who had no opinion about the question amounted to 4 percent.


The most common reason for American citizens to support the death penalty was the biblical phrase “an eye for an eye” — about 35 percent of respondents stated this as the main reason for their support.


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About Pavel Prikhodko

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Pavel has worked for many years as a researcher and developer on a wide range of applications (varying from mechanics and manufacturing to social data, finance and advertising), building predictive systems and trying to find stories that data can tell.

In his free time, he enjoys being with his family.

Other posts by Pavel Prikhodko:

One thought on “Public opinion on the death penalty”

  1. I am against the death penalty because it is an easy way out. Make them stay in jail, hopefully in solitary confinement. This will allow them to think about what the did hopefully for a long long time. No visits, no mail, no reading material. no radio or television. Just their own thoughts and let them live on hardtack and water. With no constitutional rights their victims had none.

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