Date of Award

Summer 8-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Political Science


Political Science

Major Professor

Daniel Lewis

Second Advisor

Matthew Jacobsmeier

Third Advisor

Edward Chervenak


Comparatively few studies have explored how variations in state governing institutions influence voting behavior. Utilizing lower chamber state legislative election returns from the years 2000 through 2010, and the 2002 through 2010 GSS data series, this dissertation focuses on how US state legislatures influence voting behavior and political attitudes of the American electorate. Specifically, this research takes on a comparative approach and illustrates how institutional differences in the size, capacity, and composition of the US state legislatures affect the electorates’ propensity to vote and how politically efficacious people feel.


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