Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Fall 2018

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Political Science / Justice Studies


Political Science

Program or Major

Political Science / Justice Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Susan Siggelakis


This paper explores the relationship between public opinion data and the consequent policy decisions enacted by the federal government. Specifically, it will examine President Trump’s policy implementations regarding the United States’ role in foreign affairs. Multiple public opinion polls, both domestic and international, will be utilized throughout to establish an understanding of the public’s complex views of this role. Antecedent to this, however, the nature of public opinion will be reviewed by providing a definition for public opinion, examining the various influences throughout one’s life, evaluating the criticisms and problems associated with it, and understanding how it ultimately relates to policy making. Significant policy decisions executed by President Trump will be discussed, including the Paris Agreement, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and Iran nuclear deal. His continually developing relationships with nations such as Russia, North Korea, and China will also be examined. Notable legal cases involving executive orders issued by President Trump will be assessed, namely the “Travel Ban,” family separations, and the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA). Through in-depth analysis, the paper will illustrate that public opinion, especially among American citizens, does not significantly affect President Trump’s decision making when leading the United States in world affairs.

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