Will new voters turn out on December 5th?

November 17, 2017 0 Comments

Election outcomes from the November 7th municipal elections resulted in several run-off elections to take place on December 5th, including the race for mayor in Cedar Rapids and an at large city council position in Cedar Falls.  While the turnout rate is typically quite low for municipal races, turnout in run-off elections, depending on who […]

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Is the “full Grassley” worth it?

November 7, 2017 0 Comments

Election Day is a great time to reconsider campaign tactics because you will soon know what worked and what didn’t. Political science research is quite clear on the difficulty of voter persuasion; since voters are unlikely to objectively consider the candidate of an opposing party, campaigns would be better served by focusing on mobilizing their […]

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Should candidates be using numbers?

October 25, 2017 0 Comments

With Congress and the president focused on “tax reform,” we are seeing and hearing a lot of numbers.  As has been established by political science, however, numbers do not persuade voters (not much does) nor do voters engage in complex cost-benefit analyses when standing in the voting booth.  Instead, scholars have consistently shown that emotional […]

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How to judge a chief executive?

October 13, 2017 0 Comments

The postseason in baseball is in full swing (pun intended and go Cubs!) so it seems only fitting to see whether baseball analytics can help illuminate patterns in the political world. Consider presidential-congressional relations.  The president’s ongoing skirmishes with Congress have led many to conclude that he lacks the political skill to enact his legislative […]

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Will the GOP retain unified control?

October 7, 2017 0 Comments

In previous posts, I’ve discussed factors likely to affect the 2018 gubernatorial race in Iowa.  But what about campaigns for the Iowa House and Iowa Senate? Research from Steven Rogers approaches this question from an interesting angle by asking: What factors determine whether a state legislative candidate even faces a challenger when running for reelection?  […]

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Roll-call votes and public opinion

October 2, 2017 0 Comments

This blog is a continuation of previous posts assessing whether the actions of state legislators this past spring will affect election outcomes in 2018.  While previously the focus has been on partisanship and approval ratings, this essay focuses on actual votes taken by legislators. The narrative since the conclusion of the 2017 state legislative session […]

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2018 backlash? Maybe not

September 21, 2017 0 Comments

There has been a lot of speculation about whether the actions of Republican state legislators in 2017 will cause backlash for the party in the 2018 elections.  The argument goes something like this: the agenda Republicans pushed through in 2017 was “too extreme” for the average voter (repeal of collective bargaining rights being the most […]

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Reelection prospects driving policy discussions

September 13, 2017 0 Comments

Time to rejoice!  Big policy discussions are happening on tax reform and healthcare…right? Wrong. Last night, the president had dinner with six U.S. senators, three of whom are Democratic, to discuss the possibility of tax reform.  The three Democratic senators, Sen. Donnelly from Indiana, Sen. Heitkamp from North Dakota, and Sen. Manchin from West Virginia, […]

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Where does the polarization end?

September 12, 2017 0 Comments

The inverse relationship between trust in government and scale of government has been well documented.  As one moves up in scale (from local to state to federal government), trust in government goes down. Why? The public abhors the bickering, constant disagreement, and slow-moving pace that goes along with partisan politics, all of which is on […]

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Will issues finally matter?

September 2, 2017 0 Comments

Political scientists have long known that when it comes to vote choice, voters are less issue-oriented and more focused on the personal appeal of individual candidates.  The 2016 election is a perfect example. Despite all the speculation about Republican voters abandoning their nominee for holding less than consistently conservative positions, in the end, they “fell […]

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