Honors Program Theses


Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Christopher Larimer


Young adults--Political activity--United States; Young adults--Political activity--Iowa; Primaries--United States; Primaries--Iowa; Presidents--United States--Nomination;


This thesis investigates the role of early caucuses and primaries on youth voter turnout during presidential elections. It will seek to address the following research questions: RQ 1) Do states with earlier caucuses/primaries on the election calendar show an increased youth voter turnout because of more candidate interaction? RQ2) Why is Iowa youth voter turnout consistently in the top 3 nationally during presidential election years but not during midterm elections? I hypothesize that more interaction with candidates positively impacts youth voter turnout in early caucus and primary states. Iowa youth voters, in fact, greatly benefit from their first-in-the-nation caucus and are not simply voting because of values of civic engagement or candidate preference. This research will include comparisons among early caucus and primary states since 2000; the research is greatly aided by recent changes in states‟ order on the election calendar. It will also feature results of a survey sent to all students (approximately 13,000) at the University of Northern Iowa to gauge their voting experiences and the impact they felt from the caucus. It is hoped that this thesis can offer insight into an often forgotten political process when studying youth voters and can lend more research to the debate regarding how to best engage potential youth voters.

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

61 p. : col. ill.



File Format


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