Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Wilbur Justin Martin

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


This thesis study is entitled “Are the Voting Patterns of College-Aged Students and the General Public Influenced by Award-Winning Celebrities’ Political Opinions in Presidential Elections?” This thesis examines primary data from award shows, government campaign financing data, and student survey data obtained at the University of Southern Mississippi. The study investigates both whether award-winning celebrities have a political impact on presidential elections and specifically whether celebrities have a political influence on college-aged people. Data analysis from this study reveals that celebrities do not have a substantial impact upon either presidential elections or upon the voting patterns of young people. This study did find, however, that many people believe that celebrities have more of an impact than they really do. Various reasons for this lack of celebrity political impact and persuasiveness are discussed, including source credibility, trustworthiness, and desensitization. It is hoped that this thesis will add information and insight into the fields of media and political science. It is also hoped that this study will encourage both the general population and young people to think carefully and critically about their voting choices.