Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Justin Holmes, Honors Thesis Advisor


Political campaigns; Young adults--Political activity; Social media--Influence;


In an ever-changing media environment and growing influence of young voters, creating and disseminating messages that will reach this intended audience is a complicated and difficult task for political campaigns. Social and new media changes with each election cycle, so following standards of the most previous campaign is following an outdated strategy which may not break through in the newest media environment. With an increasing interest in strategies to reach young voters in the electorate, political campaigns and their candidates are disseminating messages online and on social media, where an increasingly large number of the voting bloc is getting their information. In the sea of available information online, the effectiveness of breaking through and being seen by voters is increasingly difficult. Unpredictable viral moments and negative perceptions of paid content online adds incredibly complicated elements into the mission of successfully reaching and resonating with the intended audience of voters. As such, this study reflects on the success and failures of campaigns within the 2020 Democratic Primary to disseminate messages to an audience, particularly college-aged voters, and how these successes and failures establish a basis for developing strategy and messaging for future political campaigns.

Year of Submission



Department of Political Science

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (62 pages)



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