Honors Theses


Michelle Pautz and Daniel Birdsong


Political Science

Publication Date

Spring 5-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Third parties have always existed within American politics, yet have never claimed the ultimate political victory: the Presidency. Third parties often enjoy support from a strong, concentrated group of serious devotees and brief flashes of public support, but they often fail to attract the larger, more consistent backing enjoyed by the two major parties. A significant source of third party patronage is also found on the university campus, yet this support often fades shortly after college. Using survey data, this research analyzes the potential impact party building and media campaign strategies would have on third parties in gaining the lasting support of 18-24 year old voters. It also examines how the voting behavior and political affiliations of this group have changed since coming to college and how their perceptions of third parties could change in the future. This foundation could provide a path for third parties to begin building a young, loyal coalition that would continue their support after college, allowing third parties to perhaps gain enough momentum to take the national stage with a presence and power that could legitimately challenge the major two parties.

Permission Statement

This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research


Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences