Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
The President of the United States sets the tone for policy and has significant power in adopting and implementing policy. Despite this acknowledged power, prior studies, have not examined whether or not agency theory is predictive of voting in U.S. presidential elections. Agency theory is important in the scope of voting behavior as it identifies the relationships which support significance in practicing the activity. This correlational study examined the statistical impact of personal agency, social agency, and sociocultural agency on predictive voting behavior. This study used secondary data originally collected between 1956 and 2008 by the American National Election Study through a multistage probability design that yielded a survey of 28,000 individuals. A single, combined model was created from variables measuring personal, social, and sociocultural agency on the dependent variable of voting to test which type of agency had the highest predictive power on voting. The outcome of a logistic regression analysis demonstrated that sociocultural and personal agency, but not social agency, were statistically powerful predictors of voting (p < .05). These findings suggest that an individual's personal perceptions and cultural status influence their likelihood to vote, but that their social units do not. These findings suggest that efforts to increase turnout by members of sociocultural groups that are less likely to vote should focus on increasing personal agency. This study promotes positive social change by empowering the design of more effective get-out-the-vote campaigns to increase voter participation, especially among the underrepresented.
Wilson, Sharlene, "Understanding Presidential Voting Motivation by Factors of Agency" (2015). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 427.