Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kelly Werder

Keywords

Communication, Medical Marijuana, Politics

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine single-issue voting in the youth population, specifically involving the upcoming medical marijuana ballot initiative to be voted on in Florida November, 2014. Single-issue voting is becoming a more prevalent trend in American politics. The young voter demographic has historically showed the lowest percentage of voter turnout thus giving it the highest potential to influence the outcome of an election if more voters showed up to the polls. This study sought to understand if a single issue such as medical marijuana could be that motivation to go vote. Data was gathered through conducting focus groups of students 18 to 24 years old. The content was analyzed and quotes were collected then compared against two existing mass communication theories. The qualitative nature of the work allowed the study to produce a picture of the essence of how some young voters thinks when an election is approaching. This information will be vital as the field of study begins to grow quantitatively as well.

Though no definitive result was determined, young voters may be motivated to vote by a single issue but it is doubtful that issue will not be medical marijuana. This study aids an understanding of how a young voter is perceived as well as what issues were most important to those who participated. Organizations tasked with targeting this population could use these results to help cater a more effective message and reach a demographic that has so far been nearly unattainable.

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