Date of Award
Master of Science
In the presidential election of 2004 youth age 18-24 had an increase in voter turnout of 11% points over the 2000 election. The 47% turnout was the highest since 1992 and before that 1972. This analysis draws on the social movement literature with a focus on McAdam's (1982) political process theory and micromobilization context (McAdam 1988) in combination with traditional political participation variables such as campaign interest, political knowledge, and political media use in an effort to help explain why there was an increase in college student political participation. Using the responses from an internet survey sent to both the College Democrats and College Republicans via email, the analysis was run using ordinary least squares multiple regression for continuous dependent variables and logistic regression for dichotomous dependent variables. Some interesting findings were that females participated more than males but males were more likely to organize activities. Both political discussion variables, difference in frequency of discussions and overall discussions, were found to be significant predictors of participation which indicates the importance of social ties and social interactions for motivating individuals to participate. Overall the micromobilization context model did a good job of explaining college student political participation with the exception of the perceptions of injustice variables. Future research would benefit from further investigation of how gender roles impacts political participation as well as applying the micromobilization context model to groups more outside the mainstream. Limitations to the research were low response rate and a decrease in reliability due to the survey being conducted five months after the election.
William Fredrick Wunsch
Wunsch, William Fredrick, "Political participation predictors of college students in the 2004 presidential election" (2006). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 19074.