Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

David Shafie


With the marked increase in campaign spending and thus campaign fundraising we have seen an increase of Super PAC donations to political campaigns. The decline of political efficacy and political trust in the United States is sometimes linked to the increase of these kinds of big money donations in elections. It has been argued that the average civilian no longer feels like their donation counts towards achieving a win in political campaigns. There are those who say that the fact that politics is dominated by a small number of big donors has lead to a decline in individual contributions by citizens. Contrary to this belief individual contributions still make up the largest percentage of campaign donations. The system, it seems, would be more fair and representative if more citizens contributed money to candidates they favored. By increasing the percentage of citizen participation and donations big donors would be more limited in their influence. So, my question is: Why in an era when the cost of elections is on the rise do we see a decline it citizens donating their own money to the candidates they like in an effort to affect political elections? Using National Election Survey data pertaining to questions about political participation, political efficacy, and campaign donations this essay will examine the relationship between efficacy and campaign contributions.


Presented at the Spring 2015 Student Research Day at Chapman University.