C&C recently reported an AP story that conservatives have become increasingly drawn to the anti-death penalty movement, partly for cost considerations, partly for religious reasons.
The story contains a grain of truth. Here, however, is the cornfield: According to a Gallup survey, http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/gallup-poll-who-supports-death-penalty, conservatives support the death penalty by 74% to 21%. Moderates support it 68% to 27%, and liberals by 54% to 42%. Republicans support it 80% to 17%, and Democrats 58% to 36%. Men support it 74% to 23%, and women 62% to 32%.
The death penalty was not merely supported but used by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton. Not all of these are thought to have been "conservatives," of course. And it was recently endorsed by a prominent not-very-conservative politician, even for non-homicide offenses such as child rape (emphasis added): "I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes. I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that that does not violate our Constitution."
Those were the words of Barack Obama, criticizing the Supreme Court's decision In Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. ___ (2008).