Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date

Spring 4-26-2022


Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of


Political Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Nathan Griffith

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


In this thesis, I investigate the relationship between the size of government and political polarization. As polarization has increased, significantly, in the United States, it begins to beg the question: is there a way to identify the cause? Perhaps from there, we can begin to find solutions. That is ultimately the goal with this piece. In this report, I analyze the many possible causes which include policy and political structure, media bias, geographic factors, and socioeconomic factors and attempt to explore why they are insufficient explanations. By using data from national surveys, voter registration, wealth disparity rates, federal net outlays to GDP (gross domestic product) and historical data, I compare these theories to see which shows the most significant, causal relationship. If my theory is correct, we will see that as the size of government increases, so do the levels of polarization. If not, we will at least be able to find the most statistically significant cause or be able to point in a new direction and look for new potential theories.