- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 15, 2014

About three in five Americans say they favor the death penalty as the ultimate punishment for murder despite a recently botched execution in Oklahoma, where a condemned man died of an apparent heart attack after his lethal injection went awry.

The poll by Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies for NBC News says 35 percent are opposed to the death penalty, and only one in three people say executions should be stopped if lethal injections are no longer viable.

Among those open to other methods, 20 percent support the gas chamber, 18 percent for the election chair, 12 percent for the firing squad and 8 percent for hanging.

The split over the death penalty is consistent with surveys conducted before Clayton Lockett, convicted of rape and murder, writhed during the lethal injection in Oklahoma and died even though the procedure was halted midway through it.

NBC says the results also are in line with an erosion of support for the death penalty since the 1990s, when it topped 70 percent.

Republicans, white Protestants and older people were more likely to favor the ultimate punishment than Democrats, blacks, Latinos, Catholics and young people, the poll found.

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