Support for Death Penalty by Religious Affiliation


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted Wednesday on all 30 counts related to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings—17 of which carry the possibility of the death penalty.

Americans are divided on the issue of the death penalty. When asked which punishment they prefer for people convicted of murder, 44 percent said the death penalty and 48 percent said life in prison with no chance of parole.

Death Penalty by Religious Affiliation Table v2 copy

There are significant religious divides on this issue. White evangelical (59 percent) and white mainline Protestants (52 percent) have the strongest support for the death penalty, while Hispanic (24 percent) and black Protestants (25 percent) express the least support.

Catholics are sharply divided by race—white Catholics, like the general public, are almost evenly divided in their views with 45 percent expressing support for the death penalty and 50 percent in favor of life in prison. In contrast, only 29 percent of Hispanic Catholics favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 62 percent prefer they serve life in prison.

Source: PRRI, American Values Survey, September 2014.

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