Support for the death penalty fell by 7 percentage points, from 56% reported in Pew’s 2015 poll—an overall decline of 12%.
42% of respondents told Pew that they oppose capital punishment, the highest level of opposition ever recorded by Pew and the highest since a May 1966 Gallup poll reported 47% of Americans against the death penalty.
Both polls reported that 56% of Americans support the death penalty.
That is the lowest level of support ever recorded by the CBS News poll, and near the lowest level reported by Pew in the last 40 years.
Support for the death penalty among those who identified themselves as Independents in 2017 was slightly higher than among those who called themselves Independents in 2016. Saad, "Gallup Poll Social Series: Crime, Death Penalty Topline," Gallup News Service, October 26, 2017.) Public Support for the Death Penalty Below 50% for First Time in History of 2016 Pew Research Center Polling A September 2016 national poll by the Pew Research Center found that fewer than half of Americans (49%) reported supporting the death penalty.