Nathan OlsonFollow

Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-10-2017

Major Department or Program



Susanne Beechey


This thesis considers the 2000, 2008, and 2016 presidential elections in an effort to determine how unique or unprecedented those elections were within the history of American presidential elections, and how consistent American voting behavior is. To accomplish this goal, I used several foundational models of voting behavior, including the Michigan Model, the retrospective voter model, and the rational voter model. I combined these foundational models into a single model and tested it using a sampling analysis and American National Election Studies data. I found that American voting behavior is consistent throughout the elections at study, and that many of the foundational models of voting behavior continue to be successful at predicting voting behavior, bringing into to question the claim that Obama, Trump, or Bush elections were truly unprecedented.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Voting -- United States, Presidents -- United States -- Election -- Forecasting, Barack Obama, Donald Trump (1946- ), George W. Bush (1946- ), Voting research -- United States, United States -- Politics and government, Political parties -- 21st century, Election forecasting, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2017 -- Politics Department

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis



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