Majority support for the federal approach crosses party lines, with 80 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents and 72 percent of Republicans saying they back a civilian trial. However, Democrats are by far the most apt to support it “strongly.” Democrats are also the least likely to strongly support the use of the death penalty, although most of them do support it, at least somewhat.
The bigger divide on the death penalty is between whites and African Americans. While 75 percent of whites say they would back the use of the death penalty were Tsarnaev convicted, the support among African Americans barely goes past the midpoint: 52 percent of African Americans would support the death penalty, and 43 percent would oppose it.
Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.