Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Political Science

Committee Chair(s)

Steffen Blings


Steffen Blings


Joshua Ryan


Tammy Proctor


The study of the impact of the 2017 Women’s March and women’s feelings towards President Donald Trump on female candidacy in the 2018 midterm elections was conducted to observe the emergence of new pathways to candidacy and further understanding political ambition in women. This closely follows social movement literature on political opportunities and changes in mobilizing structures as well as literature on nascent political ambition. Understanding the things that encourage more women to run for office can help increase descriptive representation in the United States and create a more representative democracy.

The methods of observing the phenomenon of the 2018 midterm elections and the events preceding it included both interviews and OLS regression analysis. Interviewees were chosen from the pool of Democratic women who ran for the Utah State Legislature in 2018. This process was conducted following IRB guidelines. Data for OLS regression at both the state and district level was conducted using public data sources that were merged and aggregated to match the level of study. The number of female candidates in 2018 was compared to Women’s March Turnout, an average of women’s feelings towards President Trump, and control variables of party, ideology, and education in a given area.

Findings include a confirmation that Women’s March turnout does impact the number of female candidates, specifically when feelings towards President Trump are most positive in that given state or district. This suggests that higher Women’s March turnout impacted women’s decisions to run for office in areas where they might not have otherwise due to their environment.

Further research should look closer into social movements and female candidacy through the lenses of political party and/or race.