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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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Tennessean -  Reports "Vanderbilt receives $1M grant to combat child labor." The $1M grant was awarded to CSDI Affiliate Cecilia Mo from the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Washington Post - Larry Bartels asks "Can 'conservative principles' boost working-class incomes?"

Washington Post - Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden outline "The 5 Habits of Highly Effective Legislators."

Tennessean - Latest Vanderbilt Poll showcases Tennesseans' views on abortion, Common Core and Medicaid Expansion

NYT - Larry Bartels has documented that the rich have about three times as much influence as the poor on votes in the United States Senate.

VoxWhy the Israel-Palestine conversation is so polarized -  A 2006 study by Larry Bartels and Chris Achen (Princeton) is referenced. 

Vanderbilt News In 2013, Seigenthaler and author David Maraniss co-led a conversation at the First Amendment Center about the Gettysburg Address to mark its 150th anniversary...

Washington Post  - U.S. presidential election results, for example, can be remarkably and accurately predicted by economic growth preceding the election...

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