While I had an understanding in my head of what I wanted to examine last week, my last blog post still felt muddy, and it wasn’t until I dove into the data itself and started isolating it and working with it that really got to understand the dataset enough to refine my research question:
Do people who know someone who has been accused or convicted of a crime favor the death penalty over life in prison as a punishment for murder, and does this preference differ from people who have never known anyone accused or convicted of a crime?
Blank responses were omitted from the sample, leaving a total sample size of 2,201 out of the dataset’s total 2,294 records. This sample includes 1,086 people who answered “yes” to one or both of the following questions: “has anyone in your household ever been arrested for a crime?” and “do you have any friends or relatives having a criminal conviction?” and 1,115 people who answered “no” to both of these questions.
Examining the entire sample (n = 2,201) first: 46.5% favored the death penalty as punishment for murder, 49.4% favored life in prison, and 4.1% refused to answer.
Group 1 includes those who know someone who has been accused or convicted of a crime (n = 1,086): 44.4% favored the death penalty, 53.1% favored life in prison, and 2.4 % refused to answer.
Group 2 includes those who do not know anyone accused or convicted of a crime (n = 1,115): 50.1% favored the death penalty, 46.7% favored life in prison, and 3.3% refused to answer.