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Archived Op-Eds & Blog Posts-2012

  • 11/09/12 - Were the Romney and Obama TV Ads a Total Waste? ( By John Geer - They spent a total of $1 billion on TV ads, but most were instantly forgettable—and none swayed opinion. Next time, writes John G. Geer, make the ads memorable.
  • 11/02/12 Want a strong economy? Vote Democrat ( By Larry Bartels - The economy is a key issue in this year's presidential campaign. Is America better off now than when Barack Obama took office?
  • 10/11/12 - Private Biden, Reporting for Duty (Brookings.Edu) By John Hudak - "Vice President Joe Biden was "the force" needed to give President Barack Obama's ratings a boost at last night's debate."
  • 10/04/12 -  Could Obama's Debate Performance Deflate His Base? ( By John Hudak - "For last night's debate, one could argue that President Obama brought talking points to a knife fight."
  • 09/28/12 - "Ending the negativity about negative ads." by John Geer (with Fred Davis) - "It is not easy to be positive about this negative presidential campaign. The onslaught of attack ads continues and so do the complaints by political observers of all stripes.
  • 09/26/12 - Robo Polls: A Thumb on the Scales? ( By John Sides "That is the conclusion of a new paper by political scientists Joshua Clinton and Steve Rogers. Their analysis controls for a number of other factors and still finds that a robo-poll had about 3-4 points less error when it was conducted after a live-interviewer poll. "
  • 09/21/12 -  There Go the Undecided Voters  ( By Larry Bartels - " Lynn Vavreck has an informative piece on the New York Times Campaign Stops blog today tracing shifts in presidential voting intentions from late 2011 through early September."
  • 09/11/12 -  Democrats, Republicans, and independents are hearing very different economic views By Ezra Klein - "In my New Yorker report exploring how partisans formulate (and change) their opinions, I leaned heavily on research by Vanderbilt's Larry Bartels, among others, showing that Republicans and Democrats tend to believe the economy is doing better when their team is in power and worse when the other team is in power."
  • 09/10/12 - Math is Hard ( By Larry Bartels - 'The allusive phrase points to former President Bill Clinton's DNC speech last week, where he credited math - ("it's arithmetic") when referring to the balanced budget of the Clinton administration."
  • 08/17/12 - Democratizing the political ad watch ( By John G. Geer (with Doug Rivers - "Every presidential campaign in the last 20 years had been touted as the "most negative" on record. By all appearances, the 2012 presidential campaign will be the most negative since the advent of television."
  • 08/11/12 -  The Fiscal Facts of Life: Do Americans Understand Where Budget Deficits Come From? (YouGov in Model Politics) By Larry Bartels - "Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate puts fiscal policy—government spending, taxes, and debt—squarely in the center of this year's presidential campaign."
  • 07/30/12 - Meet the Undecided  ( By Larry M. Bartels and Lynn Vavreck - "Most American voters have already decided whether they will pull the lever for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in November. Their decisions were largely predictable even before Romney emerged as the Republican standard-bearer."
  • 07/26/12  - More on Partisan Politics and Economic Perceptions (and Economic Voting) ( By Larry Bartels - "Clearly the tendency to see the economy through a partisan lens is not new."
  • 07/24/12  - An Election in Hell ( By Larry Bartels - "Much of the United States is in the midst of the worst drought in fifty years, and according to the National Weather Service, "it is likely to grow worse." An Illinois crop biologist says, "It's like farming in hell." a second time in a commentary by Brad Plumer in 
  • 07/24/12 -  Could the drought cost Obama votes this fall? ( By Brad Plumer - "A classic 2004 paper by Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels looked at U.S. data on flood and droughts throughout the 20th century and found that "voters do indeed punish the incumbent party at the polls for presiding over bad weather."
  • 05/7/12 - - Dangers of National Unity ( By Paul Krugman - "This is very much a Larry Bartels world in which voters toss out incumbents and reward insurgents if the economy is bad, never mind the specifics of their platforms."
  • 04/24/12 - - When Should Mitt Romney Talk About His Mormon Faith? ( - "The Mormon religion is a reasonably new religion and so people don't necessarily know as much about it as they would about, say, Catholicism," [John] Geer said. "I think that there are people who, when they just learn more about the religion, whatever their concerns are will just dissipate."
  • 04/12/2012  - Romney's Empathy Gap (fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes) By John Sides - "The Impact of Candidate Traits in American Presidential Elections", a study published by Larry Bartels a decade ago, is cited: "This is exactly what the political scientist Larry Bartels found in a study of the presidential elections from 1980 to 2000. He wanted to know how these elections might have turned out if perceptions of the candidates' traits had differed."
  • 03/12/12  - The Problem with U.S. Inequality ( By Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson - "How else can we explain, as political scientist Larry Bartels has documented, that U.S. Senators' votes represent the views of their rich constituents but not those of their poor ones?"
  • 03/12/12  - Could Super Pacs Actually Be Good for Democracy? ( By Matthew Creamer - In a forthcoming paper to be published in the book "Can We Talk? The Rise of Rude, Nasty, Stubborn Politics," Vanderbilt University professor John Geer makes a persuasive argument that the reason negative ads work is because the press is so eager to cover them.
  • 02/27/12 - Tennessee Also Shows Santorum's Populist Opportunity ( By Ronald Brownstein - "Like the Quinnipiac University Ohio survey released on Monday, the Vanderbilt Poll showed Santorum marshaling powerful support in Tennessee from the key elements in the GOP's populist wing- particularly tea party supporters and evangelical Christians, while remaining competitive with (or even leading) Romney among more managerial voters."
  • 02/16/12 -  Zombie Politics: The Voting Behavior of White Working Class ( By John Sides - "But in light of Bartels's findings, the "exactness" is hardly "weird." It suggests that we are talking about a phenomenon confined to a region rather than one that describes the white working class at large."
  • 01/27/12 m - For GOP, dislike for Obama trumps all ( By Brett Benson, John G. Geer, and Jennifer Merolla - "Mitt Romney's big loss in the GOP South Carolina primary has given new life to the claim that evangelical voters won't support him because of his Mormon religion. Our new poll shows that evangelical opposition to his faith would hinder Romney in a Republican primary."


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Latest Research

4/12/17 - CSDI Working Paper 2017-5 titled "Political Inequality in Affluent Democracies: The Social Welfare Deficit." has been released. The paper is authored by Larry M. Bartels

3/28/17 - CSDI Working Paper 2017-4 titled "Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Senate." has been released. The paper is authored by Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman

2/27/17 - CSDI Working Paper 2017-3 titled "When Do the Advantaged See the Disadvantages of Others? A Quasi-Experimental Study of National Service." has been released. The paper is authored by Katharine Conn and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo.

2/21/17 - CSDI Working Paper 20172 titled "Personnel System Under Stress: Results of the 2014 Survey on the Future of Government Service" has been released. The Paper is authored by David E. Lewis and Mark D. Richardson.

1/9/17 - CSDI Workng Paper 2017-1 titled "Political Control and the Presidential Spending Power" has been released. The paper is authored by David E. Lewis

12/22/16 - CSDI Working Paper 2016-4 titled "Are Bipartisan Lawmakers More Effective?" has been released. The paper is authored by Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman

11/30/16 - CSDI Working Paper 2016- 3 titled "Information Dissemination, Competitive Pressure, and Politician Performance between Elections: A Field Experiment in Uganda." has been released. The paper is authored by Guy Grossman and Kristin Michelitch

5/25/16 - CSDI Working Paper 2016-2 titled "Economic Development, Mobility and Political Discontent: An Experimental Test of Tocqueville's Thesis in Pakistan." has been released. The paper is authored by Andrew Healy, Katrina Kosec and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo

5/15/16 - CSDI Working Paper 2016 -1 titled "Social Exclusion and Political Identity: The Case of Asian American Partisanship" has been released. The paper is authored by Alexander Kuo, Neil Malhorta and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo

12/15/15 - CSDI Working Paper 2015 - 3 titled "Delegation and Bureaucratic Policymaking in the Presence of Binding Legal Constraints: Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There..." has been released. The paper is authored by Alan E. Wiseman and John R. Wright



6/30/15 CSDI Working Paper 2015-2 titled "Controlling Agency Choke Points: Presidents and Regulatory Personnel Turnover" has been released. The paper is authored by Kathleen M. Doherty, David E. Lewis and Scott Limbocker.

4/1/15 CSDI Working Paper 2015-1 titled"Incorporating Legislative Effectiveness into Nonmarket Strategy: The Case of Financial Services Reform and the Great Recession"has been released. The paper is authored by Craig Volden and CSDI Affiliate Alan E. Wiseman.

12/19/14 CSDI Working Paper 2014-7 titled ''Spatial Models of Legislative Effectiveness''has been released. The paper is authored by Matthew P. HittCraig Volden, and CSDI Affiliate Alan E. Wiseman.

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Media Spotlight

Washington Post - Monkey Cage - 4/27/17 - Co-Director David Lewis demonstrates how "So far, Trump is really struggling as a chief executive. "

Washington Post - Monkey Cage - 3/2/17 - Co- Director David Lewis explains "Why Donald Trump needs the 'administrative state' that Steve Bannon wants to Destroy." - 2/2/2017 - Co- Director David Lewis explains how "President Trump can dampen the criticism by revving up his hiring machine."

The Hill - 2/5/17-  Co- Director David Lewis argues "Reducing federal debt will require Trump to take a holistic approach."

The Conversation - 1/26/17 - Co-Director David Lewis discusses the Trump administration and its handling of the federal workforce in "Trump takes on federal workforce of 2.8 million that's showing signs of stress."

Washington Post- Monkey Cage - 1/4/17 -  Affiliate Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden discuss "How term limits for committee chairs make Congress less effective."

Washington Post- Monkey Cage - 1/3/17 -  Affiliate Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden ask "Does bipartisanship even work in today's polarized Congress? Yes."

Washington Post- Monkey Cage - 11/9/16 - Co-Director Larry Bartels explains that "2016 was an ordinary election, not a realignment."

Vox - 10/14/16 -  Co-Director Larry Bartels and Chris Achen's book "Democracy For Realists" is described as  "...the best book to help you understand the wild 2016 campaign."

NY Times - 9/12/16 -  Co-Director Larry Bartels discusses "The Rise of Presidential Extremists."

NY Times - 5/23/16 - Co-Director Larry Bartels and Chris Achen ask "Do Sanders supporters favor his policies?"

Salon - 5/10/2016 -  Co-Director Larry Bartels research is discussed in Neal Garber's piece entitled "There are no Reagan Democrats: The GOP has become the party of rich, white, southerners."

Los Angeles Times - 5/9/16 - Co-Director John Geer and Lynn Vavreck's  SpotCheck project is mentioned in David Lauter's article "Why it took two weeks for a Donald Trump attack ad to anger people. "

Los Angeles Times - 5/2/16 - Co-Director Larry Bartels and Chris Achen argue "The Presidential Primaries are Out of Control - and the Party Conventions are Broken."  

Washington Post - 3/7/16 - Co-Director Larry Bartels economic voting model is used by Dr. Matthew Atkinson and Dr. Darin DeWitt to analyze the 2016 Presidential Race.

NBC News - 2/22/1- CSDI Co-Director Josh Clinton, Hannah Hartig and John Lapinski ask Where Will Bush Supporters Go?"

NBC News - 1/27/16 - CSDI Co-Director Josh Clinton, graduate affiliate Carolyn Roush and Dr. John Lapinski explain "Where Sanders and Clinton are Dominating." 

The Guardian - 1/15/16 - CSDI affiliate Marc Hetherington asks "What would Lincoln do: is Obama right he would have better bridged the divide?"

NBC News - 1/5/16 - CSDI Co-Director Josh Clinton, graduate affiliate Carolyn Roush and Dr. John Lapinski examine "How Republicans and Democrats Feel About Their Opponents."

Monkey Cage - 12/28/15 - CSDI affiliate Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden reveal the 10 most effective lawmakers in the US Congress

NBC News - 11/17/16 - CSDI Co-Director Josh Clinton, graduate affiliate Carolyn Roush and Dr. John Lapinski explore the differences between Carson and Trump supporters.

VU Poll - November 2015 - 8/19/15 - CSDI Co-Director Josh Clinton, graduate affiliate Carrie Roush, and Dr. John Lapinski, Director of the Elections Unit at NBC news take a closer look at Trump supporters.

Washington Post - 8/3/15 - CSDI Co-Director David Lewis and graduate affiliate Mark Richardson's Survey on the Future of Government Service is examined - 7/22/15 - CSDI Co-Director John Geer is quoted in an article about Donald Trump's participation in the upcoming republican presidential debate in Cleveland.

The Fiscal Times - 7/20/15 - CSDI Co-Director David Lewis is quoted in an article about Jeb Bush's plan to reduce the federal workforce.

Newsweek -7/17/15 - CSDI Co-Director David Lewis discusses "How to Keep Good People Working in Government."

Tennessean - 7/10/15 - CSDI Co-Directors Joshua Clinton and John Geer Op-Ed, "Beware of Internal Polls to Name Nashville's Next Mayor


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