Angus Reid Public Opinion reported the public is split on whether the threat of execution is a deterrent, with 39 percent agreeing and 35 percent saying no. Only 6 percent believe no innocent person has been put to death.
There were some regional and partisan differences with southerners slightly less likely to support the death penalty than others and independents less likely than either Democrats or Republicans. More than half, 52 percent, of Republicans said they think the death penalty is a deterrent while only 40 percent of independents and 36 percent of Democrats do.
A majority, 62 percent, of those polled said they believe the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for rape and 51 percent would support it for kidnapping.
Angus Reid, based in Toronto, surveyed 1,006 members of its Springboard America panel on Oct. 28-29. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.