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Myths and Realities: Are ONU Students Logically Consistent in Their Political Beliefs?

Year: 
2013
Researcher(s): 
John Curiel
Institution: 
Ohio Northern University
Discipline: 
Social Research

Political science research establishes party identification as a stable “unmoved mover” which acts as the lens through which we view the world. However, the significance of party identification on opinion formation in college students is not as well known. Critics often condemn party identification as an obstacle to knowledge and uphold Independents as the wise voter. Further, many speculate that since Ohio Northern is located in a Republican area, students are overwhelmingly Republican. We convenience group sampled 232 students with a 34 question survey to determine ONU’s political affiliation, political opinions and the validity of the above claims. We found that students are primarily Republican, although not to the level students speculated, along with statistically significant differences between party groups. Further, our research shows that sampled Republicans, not Democrats, demonstrated correlations on political issues and as a whole more opinionated. However, Republicans were more likely to form opinions that were not logically consistent to each other.  Independents on the other hand proved more likely than Democrats but less likely than Republicans to form opinion pairs, although the existing pairs were logically consistent. When applied to knowledge on current events, similar patterns emerged to demonstrate significant effects of party identification.

The Ohio Northern University Student Research Colloquium