Publication Date

5-2017

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

3-1-2017

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Political Science

Department

Political Science

Major Advisor

Stephen M. Utych, Ph.D.

Advisor

Michael Allen, Ph.D.

Advisor

Jeffrey Lyons, Ph.D.

Abstract

While plenty of evidence suggests prospective and retrospective sociotropic economic voting happens in the electorate, it is hard to find evidence that supports prospective economic voting based on personal economic forecasts. Furthermore, it has been argued that the Republican Party is able to attract poor and working class individuals because of their conservative position on social issues. This research looks at the relationship between pocketbook prospective economic beliefs and ideological sentiments. I find that individuals who are optimistic about their personal economic future are more likely to be conservative, and that this personal optimism has a greater impact on ideology than current income. This finding suggests that personal economic perspectives influence an individual’s ideological position, and that poor and working class individuals may support the Republican Party for economic reasons.

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