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Electoral Legitimacy in the United States: Effects on Political Efficacy, Trust and Participation

McLean, Stephanie C (2006) Electoral Legitimacy in the United States: Effects on Political Efficacy, Trust and Participation. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The 2000 presidential election was a disaster for the legitimacy of the electoral process in America, leaving lasting impressions on citizens' attitudes and behaviors regarding campaigns and elections. This dissertation has two main goals. The first is to discover the determinants of attitudes about election fairness in the United States. In broad terms, this is an exploration of the variables that influence attitudes about controversial moments in American politics. More specifically, the emphasis is on the comparative importance of procedural concerns, partisan interest, and ideological differences in determining attitudes about the fairness of American elections. Second, I investigate the effect of different kinds of procedural problems in elections on political attitudes and behaviors. Variables of interest include trust in government, political efficacy, interest and participation in campaign activity. This study focuses on attitudes and behaviors related to the 2000 presidential election, and to a lesser extent, subsequent elections in 2002 and 2004. It also provides original experimental data that involves hypothetical election scenarios, with variation in procedural problems and election outcomes.The decline in trust in government and political participation widely noted by scholars in recent years suggests that perceptions of procedural problems and self-interested political actors may play a part in public disillusionment with government and democratic processes. Overall, then, this dissertation is a study of the consequences of watershed events in American politics on faith and engagement in the political process.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
McLean, Stephanie
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHurwitz, Jonhurwitz@pitt.eduHURWITZ
Committee MemberBonneau, Chriscwb7@pitt.eduCWB7
Committee MemberBarker, David Cdbarker@pitt.eduDBARKER
Committee MemberStolle,
Date: 29 September 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 3 August 2006
Approval Date: 29 September 2006
Submission Date: 17 August 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: political efficacy; political participation; public opinion; trust in government; voting behavior
Other ID:, etd-08172006-100620
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:59
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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