Troy Davis Execution Survey: Americans Changing Views on Capital Punishment

The capital murder case and execution of Troy Davis in Georgia still has many Americans angry about the use of capital punishment in America. The failed last-minute appeals and subsequent execution left many people wondering if there are too many holes in the justice system that would allow a possibly innocent man to be put to death.

troy davis

Guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, only 19% of respondents familiar with the Davis case believed him to be guilty of murder. 24% believe he was innocent, and 57% were undecided. Regardless of actual guilt, the justice system states that a person should be found not guilty if there is reasonable doubt in the case. 46.5% of respondents believed there to be reasonable doubt in the Davis case. 18% believed there was no reasonable doubt, and 35.5% were undecided.


Upon hearing that Davis’s final appeals to stay his execution had failed, many Americans were upset and emotional. 32% were sad that a possibly innocent man was to die, 23% felt disgusted at the justice system, 22% felt confused by the verdict, and 15.5% felt angry. Another 21.5% felt there must have been a good reason for the court to make the ruling it did.

Some people were so upset that this case even changed the way they view the entire American justice system. 20% of respondents said they think much less of the justice system after the Davis case, and only 2% said they think more highly of it now. 20% said they still think highly of the justice system, and 32% said they never thought highly of it to begin with.

Capital Punishment in America

So did people also change their opinions on the use of capital punishment because of the Davis Case? 11% of respondents said they were pro-capital punishment before the case and are now undecided, and 7% said they were undecided and are now anti-capital punishment. Most other opinions did not change due to the case. Overall, 35.5% described themselves as pro-capital punishment, 24.5% described themselves as anti-capital punishment, and 40% said they are undecided.

Troy Davis certainly captured the attention of many Americans last week while trying to save his own life. Was an innocent man executed because of a sub-par justice system? And will Americans change the way they view capital cases?

Photo Credit: Too much doubt Troy Davis from Flickr

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.