Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Jennifer Wolak

Second Advisor

Edward Scott Adler

Third Advisor

Stefanie Mollborn

Abstract

Income inequality has been increasing since the early 1970s, but there has been little analysis of whether American voters consider this issue when casting a ballot. This study combines survey data from the 2012 American National Election Study with Gini coefficients at the Congressional district level to evaluate whether attitudes about income inequality and actual income inequality have a significant impact on vote choice for Congressional candidates in the 2012 election. As control variables are added, predictor questions about income inequality remain significant, while Gini coefficients become statistically insignificant. This analysis provides evidence that attitudes about income inequality as a political issue have a more important influence on vote choice than do actual conditions at the district level.

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