My study is an examination into why military veterans have such disproportional representation in American politics. I call this phenomenon “The Veteran Effect” and hypothesize that the phenomenon can be explained by candidate who possess combat military veteran status and emphasize their veteran status during elections, producing a higher chance of success due to the perceived traits the veteran candidate possesses. My Independent Study includes a survey research experiment using Amazon MTurk and a comparative case study. In my research experiment, I will ask respondents to choose from three hypothetical candidates, one of whom is a veteran and heavily emphasizes their campaign brochure on their veteran status, a veteran candidate who only mentions their veteran status, and a non-veteran candidate. I will then ask survey respondents who selected the veteran candidate to select, from a list of traits, which traits they identified most with the veteran candidate. My comparative case study examines several Congressional races from the 2020 election and will compare a nation-wide sample of races featuring a combat veteran candidate v. a non-veteran political candidate. I expect to find the veteran candidates who most emphasize their status will have the highest likelihood of election.


Lantis, Jeffrey


Political Science


American Politics


Military, Voting, Elections, Politics, Psychology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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