NEWS & EVENTS
Political Science, 2010
  • Political Science, 2010

     

     

    Nonpolitical Expressiveness of College Students and Voting
    Lucas Baker
    Mentors: Suzanne Marilley, Stephanie Gray Wilson

    Following A. Downs, some political scientists assert that it is not rational for an individual to vote because the benefits do not outweigh the costs of voting. However, millions of people vote each year; thus, what motivates people to vote? Subsequently, some social scientists assert that factors such as expressive behaviors (social interaction for example) motivate people to vote. Therefore, this study determines whether there is a positive relationship between voting and nonpolitical expressive behaviors. This study investigated the relationship between voting in the 2008 presidential election and membership in a nonpolitical extracurricular organization at Capital University. A survey was sent to a random sample of Capital University students. The survey contained questions to determine if the participants voted in the 2008 presidential election and whether the participant is a member of a nonpolitical extracurricular student organization at Capital University. Consistent with previous research, the results show a positive relationship between voting and nonpolitical expressive behaviors. This study accumulated information on the college age demographic which provides critical information to political scientists. Also, this study demonstrates the benefits individuals receive from voting that motivate them to vote.

     

     

    Gun Laws and their Effectiveness: The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and Concealed Carry
    Audrey Craig
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    For many years legislatures have been battling over finding the most effective measure to reduce crime. The federal government has looked to gun control laws such as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to reduce violent and gun related crimes. In many states concealed carry laws have been implemented as protective measures in order to reduce crime. This research investigated the Brady Bill, a gun control regulation, and the extent to which the bill effectively reduced rates of violent crimes between 1980 and 2000. I also examined concealed carry laws, which are intended to protect law abiding citizens and reduced the rate of crime in the same years. Previous research has shown that the Brady Bill effectively decreased the number of violent crimes nationally, while concealed carry laws were more effective at the state level. However, the Brady Bill was less effective at the state level, while concealed carry is not effective nationally. I have compared crime rate statistics from before the enactment of the Brady Bill and Concealed Carry laws to statistics after the enactment of these laws. My results are similar to those previously found.

     

     

    Characteristic and Effects of Independent Voters in the Political Arena
    Darius Fequiere, Kristina McCann
    Mentors: Suzanne Marilley, Cynthia Duncan

    “The future lies with those wise political leaders who realize that the great public is interested more in Government than in politics . . . The growing independence of voters, after all, has been proven by the votes in every Presidential election since my childhood—and the tendency, frankly, is on the increase” (Roosevelt, 1940). Independent voting has played a vital role in getting citizen wants and needs heard. Through voting trends we can identify characteristics that allow independents to change party platforms and ideals. We hope to identify these voting trends, how independents have affected politics over time, the reasons for these voting tendencies, the independent voter impact on policies and initiatives, and the power of independent movements historically. Through NES datasets, PEW datasets, and a survey of Capital University students, we hope to gain a closer view into the specific voting trends of independents on numerous political issues. For this study, our independent variable is someone who claims independent voter affiliation while the dependent variable is how this person would vote on issues in the political arena. We hypothesized that independent voters exhibit traits consistent with that of the far ends of the political spectrum, ultra-liberal and ultra-conservative.

     

     

    Moral Warfare in Southwest Asia: Exploring Crisis in Counter Insurgency
    Brent N. Grace
    Mentor: Michael Yosha

    Moral warfare in Southwest Asia explores American strategy in the ongoing guerilla war in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. I set out to answer the question of whether or not current U.S. strategy was succeeding or failing and whether or not there was a realistic chance of achieving a sustainable victory against the Taliban. My research involved both deep reading into modern counter-insurgency theory and geo-politics in Southwest Asia as well attending a conference on counter insurgency at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. The conference was hosted by the Marine Corps University and brought together an array of experts on the subject including Tom Ricks, Bob Kaplan, Dr. Eliot Cohen, and General David Petraeus. I used John Boyd’s theory of moral warfare as a framework to evaluate the current situation on the ground in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region. I found three overall crises: security, legitimacy, and trust, and that the key to sustainable victory for the U.S. is to identify and institutionalize, to the extent possible, existing local governing structures as opposed to the current U.S. policy of supporting a strong central government in Kabul at the expensive of local, traditional, sources of authority.

     

     

    Religious Preference and its Effect on Political Choice
    Nathanael Gunkelman
    Mentors: Suzanne Marilley, Cynthia Duncan

    This research investigated the connection between political choice, such as voting in presidential elections and position on social issues, and religious preference. Religious preference is which religion a person identifies themselves with, including no religion. I used the results of the U.S. General Social Survey conducted in 2006. Within the same survey I investigated the effect of religious preference to opinion on major social issues, including marijuana legality, death penalty, abortion, sale of automatic weapons, sex education in public schools, and homosexual marriage. Current published studies suggest that religious groups tend to vote along similar lines; thus I expected to find similarities in how religious groups voted in the 2004 elections. I did not expect to find significant diversity in political party identification within religious groups. The literature suggests that I could have expected to find similarities in how religious groups shape their political choices.

     

     

    A Comparative Look at Public Opinion and Support for the US Army Reserve Officer Training Corps
    Tristan Hotsinpiller
    Mentors: Suzanne Marilley, Cynthia Duncan, LTC Craig Salo

    The US Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a major source for commissioning new Lieutenants into the Army out of both undergraduate and graduate programs. The purpose of this research was to determine if national economic conditions and war/anti-war sentiment over the past five years has influenced support for ROTC programs nationwide. I gathered national public opinion surveys on the economy and war sentiment covering the past five years. I reviewed support of ROTC programs from the department of defense and universities over the past five years. I examined the relationships among people’s opinions of ROTC programs and variables related to the health of ROTC programs. I expected a positive relationship between perceived economic downturns and support for ROTC and a positive relationship between pro-war sentiment and support for ROTC. My study sheds light on whether support for ROTC waxes and wanes during times of economic or political turmoil.

     

     

    The Relationship between Defense Spending and Party Identification
    Kyle Lindenbaum
    Mentors: Suzanne Marilley, Cynthia Duncan

    Defense spending stands as a central issue in American politics. Americans have diverse opinions on defense spending. I investigated the statistical relationship between support for defense spending and party identification in the United States. By studying NES public opinion surveys, I found that Democrats believe defense spending is too high while Republicans generally believe defense spending is too low. These statistics begged the question: Why do Democrats and Republicans view defense spending differently? Furthermore, has support for defense spending shifted at different points recently? Defense spending has been and continues to be a key issue in American politics, and the issue continues to be analyzed differently from every side. My research sheds light on the antecedent and intervening variables that shape Republican and Democratic voters’ opinions on defense spending in the past and the present.

     

     

    Characteristics and Effects of Independent Voters in the Political Arena
    Kristina McCann
    Mentors: Cynthia Duncan, Suzanne Marilley

    I hypothesized that independent voters exhibit characteristics similar to both the middle and the extremes of liberal and conservative voters with regard to their stances on social, economic, and political issues. To investigate this hypothesis, I recruited Capital University college students to complete one online survey. The survey consisted of questions regarding political affiliation, and if a participant identified as an independent voter, along with questions regarding social, economic, and political issues. From the participants’ responses, we compared the results with the positions of the two major political parties in the United States (Democrats and Republicans) along with third parties that fall on the far ends of the political spectrum. Participants who identified themselves as independents fall in both the middle and the far ends of the political spectrum.

     

     

    Are College Males more Politically Active than College Females?
    Dale McKinley
    Mentors: Suzanne Marilley, Cynthia Duncan

    The question of whether gender is a deciding factor in the participation of politics has been asked since women gained the right to vote in the United States since the passage of the 19th Amendment. Research suggests women are less politically active. Verba, Burns and Schlozman claim that because men have more free time and less work to do at home they can be more active in other areas such as politics. However, Hilygus suggests higher educated people are more politically active. These assumptions lead into the following project. This study tested the political participation of colleges students based on gender. Political participation was defined as being active in the political process by means of voting or working in a political organization. Gender is defined as being of either the male or female sex. The researcher surveyed Capital University students and asked questions about voting participation and political activities. The researcher anticipates that college men are more actively involved in politics than college women.

     

     

    A Comparative Analysis of Leading Health Care Systems
    Sarah Moore
    Mentors: Charlie Jones, Suzanne Marilley, Cynthia Duncan

    Is there an ideal health care system that provides for a higher quality of care? Past research has not been conclusive in promoting a single health care system. Several of these studies have focused on variables such as total health care costs, or number of citizens covered. Using a new combination of variables, my research investigates and compares the healthcare systems of three selected countries, the United States of America, Germany, and Canada. The proposal explores whether one country’s health care funding source provides for a higher quality of care. For the purpose of this research project, the definition of quality of care includes accessibility to care, staffing efforts, and emergency room wait times. I chose a comparative research method, which refers to studies based on collective components of analysis along with historical comparisons of these components. I expect to find that countries with multi-payer health care systems have a higher quality of care for their patients because competition would increase with more payers. The importance of quality of care is represented in the United States as Congress continues to debate health care policies.

     

     

    Assessing Unwanted Sexual Experiences Among Students at Capital University
    Karrie Rench, Elizabeth Koch
    Mentor: Beckett Broh, Suzanne Marilley, Cynthia Duncan

    Sexual assault occurs on college campuses at alarming rates. Additionally, misconceptions about what constitutes sexual assault and who is at risk are common. The purpose of this study was to examine these issues at Capital University. A survey questionnaire was administered to a randomly selected sample of traditional undergraduate students and measured the prevalence of sexual assault and knowledge about it. Analyses examined the relationship between sexual assault rates and beliefs related to sexual assault. Furthermore, we examined how factors such as gender, Greek affiliation, and athletic participation were associated with these outcomes. We expected to find that 12-15% of respondents have experienced some form of sexual assault and that students who have experienced sexual assault are more likely to be female, affiliated with Greek organizations, or participate in athletics. Our presentation reveals the implications of unwanted sexual experiences and its importance at Capital University.

     

     

    An Economic Analysis of Japan in the 1990s: The Lost Decade
    Bethany Rowles
    Mentors: Michael Yosha, Stephen Baker

    The 1990s in Japan experienced widespread economic downturn which left the country in a period of stagnation and deflation known as the Lost Decade. The policy decisions and instability of certain financial sectors at the time played a part in the initial downturn and in the length of recovery. In this research project, I examined the factors that led to this downturn and what occurred as a result. I studied the economics of the Lost Decade as well as the preceding time period, the world economics of the time, and the internal cultural, administrative, and labor changes which were occurring. The effects of the economic crisis and the policies enacted were also considered, as well as the eventual recovery and lasting results. Many factors contributed to the fall of Japan’s economy. Japan has a bank-based financial system, which amplified the bursting of the asset-price bubble. The liquidity trap that occurred from cutting interest rates left monetary policy ineffective. It would have been difficult to know that an asset price bubble was occurring during the 1980s. Although it may have been possible to lessen the effects, it is unlikely that what happened could have been completely prevented.

     

     

    Exploration of the Psychosocial Causes for Increased Criminality among Women
    Emily Williams
    Mentors: Cynthia Duncan, Suzanne Marilley

    Historically, the issue of criminality in women has been overlooked because of the “…common fear that women, as the putative gatekeepers of social morality, are changing” (Kruttschnitt et al., 2008). However, criminality in women has increased in the last twenty years and minimal scholarly research has been conducted to reveal why female criminality is on the rise. I explored the increased criminality, specifically the crimes of murder, abuse, and battery in adult women ages 18 and older from 1980 to the present day, and the possible psychosocial causes of violent crimes committed by women. The intent of the research is to have a better understanding of the root causes of increased criminality in women. I used an historical and comparative analysis to determine the possible causes of increased criminality among American women. Findings indicate that a lack of an ample education, low socioeconomic status, drug and alcohol abuse from childhood and beyond, and increased violence toward women in the home has contributed significantly to the increase in criminality in women.