By Garvey, Stephen P

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99. See Bureau of Just. 52 (Kathleen Maguire and Ann L. , 1999); Gross, supra note 2, at 1456; Fox News, 2/98; cbs News, 2/98. 100. abc News, 1/00; Gallup, 2/15/00; Gallup, 2/21/00; Gallup, 9/00. The increase in the percentage of respondents who favored life imprisonment without parole in 2000 largely reflects a corresponding decrease in the percentage who answered that they didn’t know or weren’t sure. 101. , 5/91; Fox News, 1/98. 102. Harris, 9/88; Yankelovitch, 6/89; Tarrance Group and Greenberg Lake, 3/93.

In addition, the nature of people’s opinions on capital punishment seemed to contribute to their stability. Death penalty attitudes were linked to many other values and beliefs about crime and the criminal justice system,≥∞ so much so that they are sometimes used as a shorthand indicator of attitudes toward crime and punishment in general. Attitudes that are linked to many other attitudes, beliefs, and values have long been considered particularly resistant to change≥≤ because change would either require reconsideration of the whole set of related attitudes or would result in an uncomfortable cognitive inconsistency.

By the mid-1980s executions were regular events; by the mid-1990s they were common. But public opinion did not turn against capital punishment; quite the opposite. In addition, several studies have shown that few death-penalty supporters change their minds when given factual infor111. S. 238, 361 (1972). 112. Id. at 362. 113. Id. at 369 (footnote omitted). 114. Id. 145. ∞∞∑ And, as we have mentioned, surveys repeatedly show that many Americans believe that the death penalty does not deter murder, that it is administered unfairly, and that it is used in a manner that discriminates against minorities and poor people—but they support it nonetheless.

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