Gallup has this report
by Jeffrey Jones, with the above headline, on its last poll on the death penalty.
On the standard question, asked since the 30s and best used for trends over time, support is 63%, about where it's been for the last decade. There is a strong difference by political party, but even among Democrats, the "yes" vote is a plurality, just shy of a majority.
On the very badly worded question that effectively asks people to specify a single punishment for all murders regardless of degree or circumstances, respondents chose the death penalty over life without parole by 50-45. This is up in the last few years. The LWOP choice was briefly a tick ahead, 48-47, in 2006.
The actual public policy question to be decided -- what punishment to impose on the very worst murderers -- was once again not asked.
My criticisms of poll wording on this topic are noted in this post
: Not mentioned in the report linked above, but found in the linked data report
, is a better question, "In your opinion, is the death penalty imposed -- [ROTATED: too often, about the right amount, or not often enough]?" This question is better because, unlike the other two, it at least partially addresses the fact that were are talking about a (small) subset of murders, not all murders. The result is 40% Not Enough, 28% About Right, 24% Too Often, and 9% No Opinion.
Support for capital punishment in its present scope or tougher is the sum of Not Enough and About Right, which comes to 68%. That's down somewhat from the historical average ("only" 2/3, rather than 3/4), but it still swamps the Too Often vote by well over 2-to-1.