Date of Award

Fall 12-8-2022

Degree Type

Honors Thesis



Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Patrick Murphy


Over the last decades, campaign finance has been the center of much political debate. The 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which prohibited any limit to corporate campaign expenditures under the First Amendment, changed the political landscape by allowing more money in politics and elections than ever before. Along with money in politics, political polarization is on the rise across the United States. When recognizing an increase in both of these variables in politics today, it is difficult to deny the possibility of a connection between the two. By examining the patterns that exist in the relationship between independent campaign spending and political polarization in state legislatures before and after 2010, we can begin to determine whether the potential for this link is founded in data evidence.