Thursday, October 13, 2011
Trends in support for the death penalty
This graph from Gallup reveals a pragmatic streak among Americans on the issue of the death penalty. During periods of low or declining violence (the 30s, 40s, 50s and the past 15 years) more people get compassionate and idealistic. But Americans abandon their idealism when things get dangerous. The 1965-1995 crime wave was accompanied by growing support for executions. My own take is that this pragmatism is an American strength.