The big takeaway from 2018…political science wins!

November 7, 2018 0 Comments

Since 2016, when Republicans secured unified control of state government and Donald Trump won the state by over 9 points, there has been talk of Iowa becoming a “red state.”  However, as Donna Hoffman and I have argued, historical election patterns, the distribution of vote share, and changing demographics, notably the rural-urban divide, all suggest […]

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Iowa State Senate ratings

November 4, 2018 0 Comments

Will Republicans retain control of the Iowa Senate? According to two prominent forecasters, Lou Jacobson and Carl Klarner, the likelihood of a Democratic takeover is remote.  Jacobson rates the Iowa Senate as “Likely Republican” while Klarner’s model forecasts Democrats to control 21 seats following the election, with a less than 1 percent chance of capturing […]

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Turnout! or Turnout?

November 1, 2018 0 Comments

Much has been said about voter enthusiasm this election cycle.  Are Democrats more enthusiastic than Republicans and therefore likely to vote at a higher rate?  Are Republicans energized because of this very possibility? Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida who runs The United States Election Project, reports that early voting numbers […]

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Voters have decided

October 25, 2018 0 Comments

We are less than two weeks away from the election and campaigns are still scrambling to get their messages out through radio, television, the Internet, and one-on-one voter outreach.  Yet, the prospects for voter persuasion are remarkably dim.  Consider the following two passages: From The Economist on October 20, 2018: “Almost everyone who voted for […]

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Why 43 percent could be enough to win

October 11, 2018 0 Comments

As reported by James Lynch in the Cedar Rapids Gazette on Wednesday, a new poll by Morning Consult has the approval rating for Governor Reynolds at 43 percent.  As Lynch notes, this puts Governor Reynolds in the bottom half of all incumbents.  However, my research on this topic suggests an approval rating in the low […]

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Three questions for 2018

September 23, 2018 0 Comments

As part of the American Democracy Project series the UNI Department of Political Science is hosting, I spoke to community members at the Cedar Falls Public Library Wednesday night.  While we didn’t make any concrete predictions, we did identify three key questions the 2018 election cycle may help to answer. Question #1.) Which is more […]

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Independents are moving!

September 20, 2018 0 Comments

In a New York Times column posted on Tuesday, Lynn Vavreck, a renowned elections expert and political scientist at UCLA, cast light on some new and interesting data concerning independent voters.  In a recent study, the percentage of independents who thought the economy had “gotten better” over the previous year jumped from 12 percent in […]

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Ratings changes…but why?

September 6, 2018 0 Comments

The ratings for two races in Iowa have recently changed. On Thursday, the Cook Political Report moved the 1st Congressional District race from “toss up” to “lean Democratic,” while a day earlier NBC News put the gubernatorial race in its list of “top gubernatorial races that could switch parties.” Both changes are likely based on […]

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Political science in action

August 31, 2018 0 Comments

The latest ABC News-Washington Poll highlights an important political science experiment we are observing in real time.  The research question is quite simple: what does it take for a voter to abandon his or her own party? As the poll shows, while 36 percent of Americans are estimated to approve of the president, 78 percent […]

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1st District debate on October 5th!

August 27, 2018 0 Comments

KWWL announced today that it will sponsor a debate featuring the two candidates vying for the 1st Congressional District: incumbent Rob Blum and challenger Abby Finkenauer.  The debate will be hosted by the University of Northern Iowa on October 5th. What are some things to consider as the debate draws near? First, as I’ve mentioned […]

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