Stats Behind Pro-Death Penalty Belief

Statistical Tests of Percent Differences Among Execution Actors

Differences in percentage agreement* with pro-death penalty beliefs (death penalty is just & moral) were tested across all four groups. Differences were also tested among only those groups favoring some forms of execution. These pro-death penalty people also served on a mock death penalty jury. Finally, differences were tested between Soft Abstract Supporters and Hard Abstract Supporters of executions. 


When all four groups were compared, the differences in percentages were statistically significant. (A Sig. value of less than .05 means that differences between groups are 'significant.') The effect size, as indicated by the Phi coefficient (.52) and Eta Squared (.27),** is large. Eta Squared=.25 is considered a large effect size.


When the three groups that favor executions were tested separately, the relationship was also significant. However, the effect size, as indicated by the Phi coefficient (.18) and Eta Squared (.03), is small


When Soft Abstract Supporters and Hard Abstract Supporters of executions were tested separately, the difference was not significant. The effect size, as indicated by the Phi coefficient (.03) and Eta Squared (.001), was near zero.


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*Everyone in the study was given a "score" on an index that measured this belief system. For each opinion, a person could strongly disagree (1), somewhat disagree (2), neither agree/disagree (3), somewhat agree (4), or strongly agree (5). If, on average, a person's score was in the "agree" range (greater than 3.0), that person was classified as "agreeing" with this belief system. If that person's score was 3.0 or less, that person was treated as "neutral/disagreeing" with that belief system. In the process, data were collaped. A score of 3.01 was treated the same as a score of 5.00. However, this made the information easier to present and understand in the bar graphs. 


**The use of Eta Squared is premised on the reasonable assumption that the typology of execution actors (Abolitionists, Soft Abstract Supporters, Hard Abstract Supporters, and Executioners) is ordered. Regarding execution actions, willingness to participate in an execution increases in a linear fashion from Abolitionists (who reject all methods of execution) to Soft Abstract Supporters (willing to sentence a person to death but not willing to attend the execution), Hard Abstract Supporters (willing to attend the execution but not kill the condemned) and finally Executioners (who are willing to kill the person they sentenced to death).