American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 151–165

Racial Differences in Public Support for the Death Penalty: Can Racist sentiment and Core Values Explain the Racial Divide?



Prior research has established a strong and enduring “racial divide” in support for capital punishment, but little research has explored the processes that explain the racial divide. Following the lead of Unnever and Cullen (Social Forces 85:1281–1301, 2007a), this research explores whether racist sentiment and core values (individualism, egalitarianism, symbolic patriotism, and authoritarianism) can partially explain the racial divide in public support for capital punishment. The findings suggest that racist sentiment by Whites and belief in core values by Whites partially explains the racial divide in support for capital punishment.


Capital punishment Symbolic racism Symbolic patriotism Individualism Authoritarianism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Buckler
    • 1
  • Mario Davila
    • 1
  • Patti Ross Salinas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost CollegeBrownsvilleUSA

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