I would characterize the public opinion on the death penalty as being an uninformed opinion. More people are in favor of the death penalty, now then back a few decades ago. People are not well informed on the statistics of the death penalty, like the number of prisoners, or the racial discrimination etc. I think that if more people were informed that some opinions would be changed.
It has been shown that men over women, whites over blacks, and Republicans over Democrats, conservatives over liberals are in favor of the death penalty (Bedau 90). These statistics have been found all through the whole period that the data was collected. It doesn't really seem as though people have formed exact opinions of why they support or oppose the death penalty, it’s more of just choosing a side and sticking by it. Most people’s attitudes toward capital punishment are basically emotional (95). Some people feel that killing is wrong so they oppose the death penalty. On the other hand people will feel that the only way justice will be served is to punish by death, so retribution seemed to be a big reason why they would support the death penalty, cause people more so someone would seek revenge for a loved one. People’s opinions are also based on the costs of imprisonment, or what crimes they think should be punishable by death.
I don't think everyone really wants people to die though. Polls have shown that when people were faced with the question of either the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole, that support for the death penalty dropped substantially (117). So it would seem that people really don't want an execution they just don't want the criminal to one day have a chance to roam free, or some might be scared that they will do it again if they have a chance to get out. But as long as the prisoner is contained and the people feel safe then the death penalty does not seem to be such a big necessity.
Some difficulties in trying to determine what the public’s view is on the death penalty are that the questions asked on polls are different. Also they way the questions are phrased are asked differently on different polls and also during different time periods. People aren't very well informed so instead of really forming an opinion there just choosing a side. These make it difficult to determine the view because there are so many flaws in the way it’s administered and the public is ignorant to many facts dealing with the death penalty.
I do not think that the Supreme Court should continue to rely on the public opinion as a way of determining “the evolving standards of decency.” My reason for this is because the people are like children and the Supreme Court our parents. People look up to the Supreme Court for guidance, answers, and justice. The courts should be the one to set the better example. We don't believe murder is right so the courts should enforce death as a punishment because it’s hypocritical. ...