It has been noted of the past two elections that millennial voters tipped the scales in favor of President Obama. With the same demographic posed to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, it is critical to grasp what drives young voters’ political ideologies and consequent voting behavior. This thesis considers how the college experience shapes students’ political opinions at the University of Minnesota. Whereas prior research has focused on investigating the roles of different social influences on student attitudes (i.e., professors, peers, and media), this case study examines whether length and field of study prompt ideological change. Although no statistically significant evidence was found to associate either length or field of study with material changes in students’ attitudes, this thesis does provide that students’ social political opinions are prone to greater liberalization effects at the University of Minnesota than are their fiscal political opinions. It provides furthermore that differences in social political opinions across colleges can be more significantly explained by students’ indexed responses to issues than by their self-assessed political stances.
Liberal U, Liberal You? Does a student's college experience shape his political ideology?.
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