Record-low number of Americans say death penalty applied fairly in US: Gallup

The share of Americans who say they believe the death penalty is applied fairly has hit a record low of 49 percent, according to a new poll from Gallup.

The percentage has dipped below 50 percent for the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 2000.

According to the new data, 49 percent of Americans say the death penalty is applied fairly, and 45 percent say it's applied unfairly.

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Among Republicans, 73 percent say the death penalty is applied fairly, more than twice as large as the share of Democrats who say the same — just 31 percent.

Americans, at 29 percent, are also more likely than ever to say the death penalty is applied too often, the poll found. And 37 percent said the death penalty is not used often enough, a significant drop from its highest level in 2005, when 53 percent shared that view.

The question was included on the Gallup annual crime poll, which was conducted among 1,019 adults between Oct. 1-10. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The poll was conducted before the Washington state Supreme Court ruled the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional, saying it is imposed “in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.”

There are now just 30 states that allow the death penalty.