Thesis Rationale:

As a graduate student studying political communication my interest lies in the intersection between politics and new media, and in particular social media. I am intrigued by the potential of social media to engage the public in a way that is both useful to our democratic system of government in general, and yet more relevant and meaningful for the individual citizen. At the same time I am struck by how little is known regarding the nexus between constituent opinion on specific issues and decisions made by elected officials on policy questions related to those issues.

Since 2012 my academic study has centered on literature involving new media and its emergent role in political communication, and how constituent opinion influences voting behavior and policy decisions of elected officials. For the past two years I have focused my research to elucidate the question: in the age of social media how much does constituent opinion really matter in political decision making?

Fulfilling the mission of Regis University requires an endeavor to discover the truth and contribute to the improvement and transformation of society. The ‘Citizen Survey Project’ serves as the cornerstone of an ongoing research effort that began with the exploration of scores of scholarly works detailing an interconnectedness of public opinion and new media with political systems and policy decisions of elected officials, and culminates in a Master’s Thesis that synthesizes the relationship between all four.

- Ron Tupa
former CO state senator
graduate student, Regis University