Governor Reynolds delivers her 1st Condition of the State address

January 9, 2018 0 Comments

Governor Reynolds delivered her first Condition of the State address this morning.  In some ways, the speech reflected those of her predecessor, Terry Branstad, by opening with several metrics showcasing the economic vitality of the state, credit-taking for past legislative action, and recognition of several individual Iowans and their stories. Going into the speech, I […]

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Do events matter?*

January 8, 2018 0 Comments

“What makes people in and around government attend, at any given time, to some subjects and not to others?”  That question comes from the opening page of John Kingdon’s classic work on agenda setting, and it speaks to all those who try to understand and predict what the state legislature will do each year. For […]

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Will 2018 be the “health” session?

January 3, 2018 0 Comments

This afternoon I spoke with Ben Kieffer on Iowa Public Radio’s “River to River” program.  I was joined by two other guests: Radio Iowa Director O. Kay Henderson and Iowa Public Radio statehouse reporter Joyce Russell.  Our discussion centered on expectations for the upcoming 2018 session. As I will discuss in an upcoming blog, it […]

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What does the new tax bill tell us about human behavior?

December 20, 2017 0 Comments

All public policy is based on assumptions about human behavior, but tax policy in particular is deeply tied to such assumptions.  With that, consider the assumptions built in to the recently passed tax bill soon to be headed to the president’s desk for his signature. Republicans voting in favor of the bill assume that tax […]

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New poll: Should Congressman Blum be worried?

December 18, 2017 0 Comments

Since his election in 2014, Republican Congressman Rod Blum has been considered “vulnerable.”  Prior to the 2016 election, Roll Call ranked him as the ninth most vulnerable incumbent, and last month that publication ranked him as the fourth most vulnerable incumbent heading into the 2018 election. The big reason for this vulnerability is party registration: […]

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New poll: Should Governor Reynolds be worried?

December 11, 2017 0 Comments

A new Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll provided some much needed insight into next year’s gubernatorial race.  For Governor Reynolds, the poll had some good news and bad news.  While she had an approval rating of 51 percent approve (30 percent disapprove), 49 percent of respondents said “it’s time for someone new” when asked about who […]

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Why are you still sending me mail?

December 7, 2017 0 Comments

Run-off elections for municipal races, such as those that took place this week in Cedar Falls, Waverly, Cedar Rapids, and elsewhere, often present a voter turnout challenge.  Campaigns must decide who to contact and how often regarding a race that may not be on the top of voters’ minds.  On the latter point, however, researchers […]

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Congress should move on easy issues

November 27, 2017 0 Comments

As reported in today’s “Daily 202” from The Washington Post, Congress has a lot on its plate with very little time left to clear it.  Extreme polarization has essentially brought Congress to a standstill on key issues, and its lack of action has likely contributed to its unpopularity; for the last two months, the approval […]

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Will yard signs matter for run-off election?

November 20, 2017 0 Comments

The upcoming run-off election for the at large city council seat in Cedar Falls is quickly approaching.  The truncated time period, intervening holiday, and lack of partisan cues add a level of uncertainty to the race that is not seen in “regular” elections. So what should the candidates be doing? Political scientist Don Green and […]

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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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