Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-7-2016

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


Divided government has been a major part of American politics for decades, and it has made governing often difficult at times. Recently, this type of government has proven to be especially frustrating for many voters, so why do they vote to keep this government? Are there partisan reasons for voting for a split ticket, or is the answer more fundamental? This paper highlights the facts and reasons for polarization, ranging from ideology to trust in the federal government as a whole. This paper utilizes the ANES 2012 Study to illustrate that it is not just political ideology that plays a role in determining a voter’s preference for divided government. In addition, a voter’s trust in the government to do the right thing is a major factor in preference for divided or united government. Divided government is widely popular among the American electorate, and understanding this fact will help major parties learn how to govern more effectively which will make our lawmakers more inclined to do what is best for the country as opposed to what is best for their party.


Presented at the Fall 2016 Student Research Day at Chapman University.