Document Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2019

Capstone Advisor

Emily Thorson

Honors Reader

Shana Gadarian

Capstone Major

Political Science

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

American Politics | Other Political Science | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


In American politics, elected officials often engage in transgressions that result in scandals. This thesis presents the results of an experiment testing how a politician's gender and the issuance or lack of an apology affect voters' evaluations of elected officials engrossed in a financial scandal. An experiment with 530 participants shows that politicians who apologize for financial misconduct are evaluated more favorably than politicians who do not apologize. In addition, the elected official's gender does not affect evaluations, and male candidates who apologized are not favored over women candidates who apologized. However, women respondents believed female candidates who did not apologize were tougher and more assertive in politics. This finding may suggest a shift in women's expectations of female candidate behavior.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Available for download on Thursday, July 16, 2020