Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Matthew S. Mingus

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Kobrak

Third Advisor

Dr. Myron D. Mast


The problem addressed by this research can be demonstrated through the following scenario: If we were to ask randomly chosen voters in the state of Michigan if they possessed sufficient knowledge of Great Lakes water diversion policy, the answer would likely be no. Yet, if after a short description of the purpose for this type of policy, the voter was questioned about supporting such actions he or she would likely voice strong support for strategies that would prevent water diversions.

The objective of this research was to understand why Michigan's voters would readily voice opposition to Great Lakes water diversions when they possess little or no knowledge of the subject. The study investigated relationships between opposition and attitudes of stewardship and ownership regarding natural resources. Included in the analysis were the concepts of sense of place and acceptance of the principles of the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP).

Multiple regression revealed that opposition to Great Lakes water diversions is a complex attitude best explained through consideration of place attachment and place identity, beliefs about resource preservation and acceptance of the NEP principles, length of residence, and racial background. The contribution toPublic Administration resulting from this study was a greater appreciation of the causes and sources of voter attitudes and behavior regarding this public issue.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access