METHODS: Moderate Influence

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When the 'Effect Size' is Medium

In the Death Penalty Study, researchers asked 4 additional questions that probed beliefs about the death penalty as unfairly applied to poor people, persons of color, and the innocent. As noted, Abolitionists are people who oppose all methods of execution.* The rest of the people indicated that they favored at least one method of execution from a list of 11. Among Abolitionists, 75% believe that the death penalty is applied unfairly. Interestingly, a very large minority (43%) of those who favor the death penalty (non-Abolitionists) also feel that capital punishment is applied unfairly. The 32-point spread between the two groups helps predict who is likely to be and Abolitionist and who is likely to be a non-Abolitionist


However, the 'influence' of the belief (the death penalty is unfairly applied) does not 'perfectly' predict whether a person is an Abolitionist or not. About 43% of those who approve of executions simultaneously believe that the death penalty is meted out to the poor, people of color, and the innocent in an unfair manner. Further, 25% of Abolitionists feel that the death penalty is fairly applied. Eta Squared is .08, meaning 8% of the variance in being an Abolitionist is accounted for by the belief that the death penalty is unfairly applied. This also means that 92% of whether one is an Abolitionist or non-Abolitionist cannot be predicted by knowing that a person considers the death penalty unfairly applied. This is a medium effect size.


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*Researchers theorized that opposition to all forms of executions is a superior measure of death penalty abolition that stating an abstract opinion about capital punishment. One cannot truly 'favor' capital punishment if one is unwilling to okay any method of killing people guilty of capital crimes.