Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2012

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

First Advisor

Troy Gibson

Advisor Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs


How can a potential libertarian portion of USM students be differentiated from the conservative and liberal segments? The most obvious method is to classify students by their respective demographic factors. Demographic categories such as gender, race, age, religion, field of study, etc. could prove to be extremely useful when attempting to identify patterns in populations. The connections between these variables and political ideology are further examined in the literature review. The demographics of a potential libertarian faction have yet to be defined, specifically at the University of Southern Mississippi. Therefore, the goal of my research will be to first locate a potential libertarian population among the students at USM. If a significant libertarian sample is found, an analysis of the demographic patterns of this potential population will be conducted. Review of pertinent literature along with an analysis of a student sample will allow an answer to the research question, “To what extent does the current student population at the University of Southern Mississippi accept the political philosophy of libertarianism, regardless of party affiliation or self-identification as “liberal” or “conservative?"