PUBLIC OPINION: Support for Death Penalty Low Among Christians, Particularly Younger Members

By aholsinger

A new poll by the Barna Group found that only 40% of practicing Christians supported the death penalty, and support was even lower among younger Christians. According to the poll released on January 17, only 23% of practicing Christian “millennials” (i.e., those born between 1980 and 2000) agreed with the statement: “The government should have the option to execute the worst criminals.” Without regard to their regular practice of their faith, only 42% of Christian baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and only 32% of millennials agreed with the use of the death penalty. Roxanne Stone, the vice president of publishing at Barna, said, “This parallels a growing trend in the pro-life conversation among Christians to include torture and the death penalty as well as abortion. For many younger Christians, the death penalty is not a political dividing point but a human rights issue.”

A 2011 Gallup poll also found Americans under 30 were more likely to oppose the death penalty than those over 30. The Barna Group poll surveyed 1,000 American adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

(J. Merritt, “Poll: Younger Christians less supportive of death penalty,” Religion News Service, January 18, 2014.) See Public Opinion and Religion.

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