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Majority of Americans favor death penalty

WASHINGTON--An overwhelming majority of Americans continue to support the death penalty despite the recent botched execution of a convicted killer in Oklahoma which triggered an outcry, a poll found on Thursday.

The poll conducted by Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies for NBC News found that 59 percent of Americans remained in favor of capital punishment, with 35 percent against.

The results come just weeks after the grisly execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, who appeared to writhe in agony while taking 43 minutes to die after his lethal injection.

The survey of 800 adults also found sizeable numbers of Americans would back other execution methods — such as the electric chair or gas chamber — if lethal injections were deemed no longer practicable because of a shortage of death penalty drugs.

The poll, which had a 3.46-percent margin of error, found 20 percent support for the gas chamber, 18 percent for the electric chair, 12 percent for firing squads and 8 percent for hanging, NBC reported.

Lockett's gruesome death prompted officials in the state to temporarily halt executions and review its execution drug protocols, amid harsh criticism from human rights and anti-death penalty advocates.

Oklahoma used an untested cocktail of drugs during the procedure because some drug suppliers have ceased making the compounds used in executions available.

Some U.S. states have turned to compounding pharmacies as a source of the drugs, but the future of that option is in doubt, as state governments review their execution procedures.

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