Document Type

Honors Thesis


New controversies in America’s current political environment signal increased social uncertainty. By looking at changing public interest following a significant political event, this research provides an insight into how high-profile issues affect public awareness, political participation, and substantive views. With a focus on the topic of abortion, the project examines reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision as a case study to determine how high-profile issues impact public attitudes. A multi-method approach with regular opinion polls, entrance polls, exit polls, voter turnout data, news endorsements, and media usage patterns is used to examine shifts in public priorities and viewpoints. As the results show, Americans’ political attention is usually short-lived, and the saliency of an issue is not stable over time, though issue attention can temporarily increase political participation.

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