Publication Date

8-2019

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

3-6-2019

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Political Science

Department

Political Science

Major Advisor

Stephen M. Utych, Ph.D.

Advisor

Stewart Gardner, Ph.D.

Advisor

Erik J. Hadley, Ph.D.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Abstract

How relevant is the Constitution in today’s society? This is the document that guides the three branches of government in day to day operation, demonstrating that what the Constitution means to the people of the United States is essential in gauging how relevant people think our government is. In this experiment, I surveyed 348 different college students on Boise State campus with a list of different questions to first find out their general knowledge of our Constitution, then their opinion of it. Students were randomly assigned to receive a text about a Supreme Court case that involves interpreting the Constitution or receive no information. I predicted that providing information about different Constitutional interpretation would lead to more negative attitudes towards the Constitution. In contrast to my predictions, the results show us that when comparing the treatment and control group, even though the treatment group had a less favorable opinion of the Constitution, the difference was not statistically significant enough to indicate that people with greater knowledge of the Constitution and the Supreme Court interpretation had any different opinions about the Constitution than those who did not. This tells us that individuals may already have sufficient information about the Constitution or they have preconceived notions of the document itself.

DOI

10.18122/td/1575/boisestate

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