Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Political Science

First Advisor

Marvin King

Second Advisor

Charles E. Smith Jr.

Third Advisor

John Bruce

Relational Format



This thesis seeks to answer if female politicians raise as much money as male politicians. In order to answer this question, I collected data from the Harvard MIT Election Data Science Lab. It has every candidate that ran in the general election for the House of Representatives from 1976 through 2018, but, for the purpose of this project, only the Presidential election years from 1980 through 2016 are used in this data set. It also includes how much money they raised, what state they are from, and what party the candidate was affiliated with. This data set also accounts for inflation by using the constant dollar value of 2020, and using an inflation calculator so that all the money has the same value. My hypotheses had little support from the data; however, there were key takeaways. Southern female candidates raise as much money as other female and male candidates in other regions; Republican female candidates raise more money than Democratic female candidates; female candidates in the House out-fundraise male candidates; and there is a clear linear relationship between winning and money raised.

The creation of public campaign financing options, similar to the one New York implemented in 2020, and a complete remodel of the Federal Election Committee, could create a political environment that would put the power back into the hands of constituents rather than in the hands of the wealthy and dark money contributors. The relationship between money and winning is so distinct, that the United States elections could be on a dangerous path. If elections continue to follow the trends, it could soon become the most affluent candidate wins rather than the best candidate wins. This affects not only female and male political candidates, but it also affects the integrity of elections and United States sovereignty.

Accessibility Status

Searchable text



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.