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56% Say Arizona Shooter Should Receive Death Penalty

Jared Loughner, the Arizona man accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others, has pleaded not guilty to murder, but most Americans believe he should receive the death penalty if convicted.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 24% of Adults say Laughner should not be sentenced to death if convicted of the killings. Fifty-six percent (56%) disagree and favor the death penalty for the shooting suspect. Twenty percent (20%) are undecided.

While Laughner's attorney is expected to defend her client from the death penalty by pleading insanity, just 28% of Americans say a jury should punish a suspected criminal less severely if it believes the suspect is mentally ill. Fifty percent (50%) say such a suspect should not be punished less severely. Twenty-two percent (22%) are not sure.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook. 

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on January 24-25, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology. 

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