Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Vanessa Baird

Second Advisor

Edward Scott Adler

Third Advisor

Mi-Kyoung Lee

Abstract

Television has changed the way average citizens receive information. It has made expressing opinions to a mass amount of people very quickly a possibility. Conventional wisdom suggests that most forms of television depress political participation. However, as the forms of media change and the types of shows change to function more as a social network than simply entertainment, then perhaps television has the capacity to persuade people and to make them more likely to participate. This can potentially change the way in which election seasons function and political parties spend their funds. The only way to get at this is to have detailed information about which kinds of shows people watch, which is afforded to us by the 2012 American National Election Study. I choose to run a multivariate logistic regression to test my theory. My findings were largely inconclusive and unable to contribute significantly to existing research. Neither of my hypotheses about airtime or type of shows were proven in my study. I did analyze finite regressions in order to guide future research into this subject and found a relationship between the amount of hard news watched and the size of one’s social network. This relationship was insignificant when controlling for other factors, but could be useful to future research as a guide. As stated, my results were inconclusive, but another survey could change this finding. Further research into how television use influences and an individual’s social network in relation to voting should be performed.

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