Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level



Political Science


Todd G. Shields

Committee Member

Andrew J. Dowdle

Second Committee Member

Patrick A. Stewart


Environmental attitudes, Political ideology, Religion


In recent years, the environment has become a top concern for many people. Scientific studies have shown evidence of immediate and future threats on our environment. Despite the vast amount of evidence, many people (especially in the South) do not believe there is a human cause for global warming, a fundamental part of the environmental movement. Literature suggests Southern exceptionalism may a play a part in shaping attitudes toward environmental policies in the South. Further, a recent look at V.O. Key Jr.'s 1949 Southern Politics in State and Nation suggests that religion has since been overlooked as an explanation for Southern exceptionalism (Shafer & Johnston, 2011). This study aims to explain these differences found between Southern states and their northern counterparts with special attention to religion. Numerous variables (religion, gender, race, education, age, and trust in government) are considered doing a multivariate analysis. This study finds that religion and ideology are key factors in predicting individual attitudes toward the environment among Southern residents.