Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


John Mollenkopf

Committee Members

Keena Lipsitz

Peter Beinart

Subject Categories

African American Studies | American Politics | Asian American Studies | Ethnic Studies | Latina/o Studies | Urban Studies


primary election, New York City, campaign finance, political persuasion, City Council, race and ethnicity


Through a quantitative analysis of the relationship between New York city council campaigns’ spending and election results between 2001 and 2017, controlling for key factors such as incumbency, I find substantial and statistically significant positive effects for radio advertising on election outcomes. I find small but significant effects for mail, and smaller sized effects for canvassing. My findings underscore the need for further study of the role of ethnic and community media outlets, such as radio, in shaping voter behavior. Moreover, I argue that the fixation of the current persuasion literature on television ads in presidential general elections misses critical pathways through which campaigns influence voter choices. Given the Democratic party’s registration advantage among people of color, scholars’ over-focus on general election contests devalues the role non-white voters play in primary elections which are determinant in the many cities and states that are dominated by one political party. By examining multiple modes of persuasion in municipal and primary contests, we can better understand the voting behavior of non-white citizens.