Americans tend to approve of allowing judges to sentence minors to life without parole

Linley SandersData Journalist
May 12, 2021, 3:00 PM GMT+0

The Supreme Court issued a decision on April 22 to make it easier for judges to grant lifetime sentences without parole to minors convicted of serious crimes. Previously, the judge needed to determine that a juvenile offender was beyond hope for rehabilitation before issuing such a sentence.

An Economist/YouGov poll finds that Americans tend to approve of allowing judges to sentence minors to life without parole by 45% to 36%. Republicans are especially likely to agree with the decision: three in five (60%) approve of it, while 26% disapprove.

More than one-third of Democrats (37%) approve of the decision, compared to half of Democrats who (48%) disapprove of the ruling. About half of Independents approve (48%), while one-third disapprove (33%).

White Americans approve of the decision by 47% to 37%, as do Hispanic Americans (48% approve, 29% disapprove). Three in 10 Black Americans (29%) approve of the sentencing allowance, while 42% disapprove.

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov poll

Related: 71% of Republicans under 45 back increasing public spending, even if it means taxes increase

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between May 1 - 4, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 2.6% for the overall sample

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