Student Research Projects

Subtle Messages: The Impact of Media on Individual Change in Support for Access to Abortion

Student Alexis Turner-Lafving ‘16 (Political Science)
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Political Science
Course Political Science 265: Research Methods


The recent “War on Women” has drawn national attention to contraception and abortion as state legislatures have threatened access to both. This paper measures several theoretical determinants of opinions relating to abortion, using statistical modeling of public opinion data drawn from the 2012 American National Election Study. Examination of the relationship between media exposure and support for abortion illustrates the correlation between television, newspaper and Internet usage and support for abortion. Further, the comparison of pre-election and post-election data shows that television reinforces an individual’s pre-existing opinion regarding abortion. This research is particularly relevant because it illuminates the sources of diverse opinions regarding abortion at a time when the debate over abortion legislation is of particular national importance.


Virginia Wesleyan Research Conference Grant, 2015.


Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Conference in Washington, DC in February 2015.