Political Science ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 10-20-2022


This dissertation evaluates the interconnection between health and political behaviors in a polarized context such as the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic unveiled the current political polarization and the structural health disparities among racial communities. Using the system theory delineated by David Easton, this dissertation demonstrates that health attitudes and behaviors in the electorate can influence voting behaviors, as was the case with the 2020 US presidential election. An evaluation of the 2021 African American COVID-19 Vaccine Polls (AACVP), and the 2020 Collaborative Multiracial Postelection Survey (CMPS) demonstrates that factors such as public health compliance, trust in federal health institutions, and health policy preferences explain political behaviors such as vote choice. While public health compliance, trust in federal health institutions, and support for Medicare for all are positively related to voting for Biden, these variables are all negatively related to voting for Trump. As health attitudes/behaviors explain vote choice, political and structural factors resulting from the power dynamics of the political system influence and shape health attitudes and behaviors. This dissertation shows that political factors such as partisanship and trust in local members of Congress can explain health behaviors such as COVID-19 vaccination uptake. Besides, policy factors such as access to healthcare and health insurance coverage are also significant predictors influencing COVID-19 vaccine uptake. Finally, this dissertation demonstrates that race-related discrimination, trauma, and policy issue help explain COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among communities of color.

Degree Name

Political Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Political Science

First Committee Member (Chair)

Gabriel Raymond Sanchez

Second Committee Member

Michael Rocca

Third Committee Member

Loreen Collingwood

Fourth Committee Member

Nicholas Edwardson




COVID-19, Vaccine, Discrimination, Vote, Behavior, Health

Document Type