Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


First Advisor

Catherine Berheide

Second Advisor

Andrew Lindner


Political participation is an ever-important facet of United States democracy, but do patterns of participation differ from the local to the national level? Do citizens participate more or less in one sphere of politics? This study utilizes data from the American National Elections Study Timeseries Survey from 2016 (N = 3447) to examine the differences in local and national political participation based on interest in politics, ideological extremism, and education controlling for religious attendance, race, gender, and age. This study finds that on average, United States citizens participate less in local politics than national politics. Additionally, the regression model for local politics (R2 = .109) is statistically significant (p < .01) yet has less explanatory power than the regression model for national politics (R2 = .164), indicating that the independent and control variables are better at explaining variation in national participation. The strongest predictors in the national model were the three primary independent variables of interest. The predictors for the local model included religious attendance and gender. Ideological extremism was significant (p < .01) in the national model, but not significant in the local model. These findings suggest that there are important discrepancies between local and national participation which should receive additional attention in future research.