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Americans are fairly evenly divided as to whether convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison — with a slight majority preferring the ultimate penalty — according to an online poll.
The poll, conducted by NBC News and SurveyMonkey, found 47 percent of those questioned want Tsarnaev to be executed, while 42 percent would prefer he be imprisoned for life. Eleven percent weren’t sure.
Tsarnaev, 21, was convicted Wednesday of all 30 counts for his role in the April 15, 2013 bombings that killed three people and injured 260 in the worst terror attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11. The trail will now move on to the penalty phase, where a jury will decide whether he should be executed.
Defense attorneys never disputed that Tsarnaev was involved in the bombings, but argued his older brother Tamerlan, who was killed by police, was the mastermind.
Older Americans surveyed were more likely to want the death penalty than those under 30. Half those surveyed who are over the age of 30 said they want Tsarnaev to be executed, compared to 34 percent of those under 30 years of age.
Republicans were more likely than Democrats to say they wanted the death penalty for Tsarnaev. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans said they want him executed, compared to 38 percent of Democrats polled. Among those identifying themselves as independents, 43 percent said they want Tsarnaev executed.
Those living in the Northeast were similarly divided on the death penalty for Tsaernaev, with half preferring life in prison for him and 41 percent saying he deserved the death penalty.
Most Americans are satisfied that the government is doing a good job of reducing the threat of terrorism, with nearly 62 percent saying it is doing "very well" or "somewhat well," the poll found.
But 46 percent of those polled also said it is very likely or somewhat likely that there will be a terrorist attack inside the U.S. in the next few months. Only 12 percent said a terrorist attack in the near future was "not at all likely."
The NBC News-SurveyMonkey Poll was conducted online April 6-8, 2015 among a national sample of 2,052 adults aged 18 and over. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in the SurveyMonkey Contribute panel.
Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points.
A full description of our methodology can be found here.
The survey was produced by the Analytics Unit of NBC News in conjunction with Penn’s Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies with data collection and tabulation conducted by SurveyMonkey. Analysis was done by the University of Pennsylvania’'s Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies.
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