» A decline in the overall numbers: According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the death sentence number is the smallest since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. And public support is starting to fade: According to stats from Gallup, support for the death penalty is at its lowest level in nearly 40 years. Opposition is at its highest level since 1972. Keep this in mind when Rick Perry leads a crowd to cheers during a discussion about the death penalty. Or when cases like Troy Davis' widely-contested execution build support against the death penalty.