Peer Influence on Political Preference: Final Post

For my fifth and final post, I will discuss the main conclusions of my research as well as strengths and weaknesses of the project.

Overall Conclusions
While the results of my research are not what I expected to find, they provided interesting insights into the political climate at the College. Overall, 58.3% of subjects identify with the Democratic party, which is less than the number that identify as liberal. You can see in the pie chart below the distribution of party identification. The subjects who considered themselves unaffiliated or another party, but not independent, amount to nearly the same number of subjects consider themselves conservative or republican. This is different from the subjects who identify as liberal, but not necessarily democrat.

I’ve provided a visual representation of the sample’s political and ideological preferences.

party pie chart

overall pie chart

The strength of the relationship of democrat-liberal and republican-conservative could be attributed to party unity and message. Both major parties are trying to unify their message to retain and expand support. Throughout the 2016 Presidential election, some on the left felt that they could not identify specifically with the Democratic party. We saw this with the primary campaign between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The fraying of liberals at the College to various political parties may show that students are less willing to fall into a major party in order to have their message successful than they are to stay true to their beliefs by finding a group in which they identify most.

Strengths

In the survey, I asked enough questions to be able to choose which indicators of political activity and preference were the most useful and applicable to my research. The questions were ordered in a way that encouraged subjects to consider their political activity and how it affects their political preference. I am happy that I asked questions regarding country of origin, class year, and voter registration as it provided further insight into the results of other questions.

Weaknesses

One of the first weaknesses that comes to mind is my sample size. I believe that the sample was representative of the population (students at the College). Political preference is not necessarily something that can be controlled for when selecting a sample. I think that my research would have benefitted from a larger sample size to attain a more accurate analysis of political preference at the College. In addition, asking about familial political preference directly, as opposed to comparing younger and older students, may have been helpful.

 

I greatly enjoyed this research. I have always been fascinated with political activity and behavior; it was especially intriguing to learn about the activity and preferences of my peers. Spending more time on this project as opposed to the freshman Monroe projects was also helpful and allowed me to immerse in the material. Thank you to Professor Evans and the Monroe program for this opportunity. I look forward to sharing my research at the showcase and learning more about other scholars’ research!

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