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Highlights & Happenings

Larry Bartels Honored with 2022 SEC Faculty Achievement Award


Congratulations to CSDI co- director, Larry Brtels for winning the 2022 SEC Faculty Achievement Award. The award, now in its 11th year, recognizes faculty members from each of the 14 SEC universities for excellence in research and teaching, particularly at the undergraduate level. Read more

CSDI Welcomes Postdoctoral Fellow Marva Goodson for the 2021-22 Academic Year

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Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of crime-involved women's social network constructions. Specifically, her research utilizes egocentric social network methods to identify participant, network member, and structural network characteristics that are associated with women's access to resources and recidivism rates. Marva is a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow (2018-2019), Duke Social Network & Health Fellow (2018-2019), King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellow (2017-2018), and recipient of the National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant.

Congratulations to CSDI Graduate Affiliate Michael Shepherd on 2020 Awards and Publications

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Graduate affiliate, Michael Shepherd had a very successful 2020. He was presented with  the department of Political Science's Outstanding Graduate Student Paper for his work entitled “The Politics of Pain: Medicaid Expansion and the Opiod Academic.”.  He also received the Timothy E. Cook Best Graduate student paper award from the American Political Science Association’s Political Communications Section for  “Look Up at the Mansion on the Hill: Does Mass Media Activate the Politics of Resentment.” which was co-authored by former graduate affiliate Marc Trussler.

Michael also co-authored 2 published articles.  "The Politics of Locating Polling Places: Race and partisanship in North Carolina Election Administration, 2008-2016" was featured in Election Law Review and "The Effect of Big-city News on Rural America During the Covid-19 Pandemic in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

CSDI Welcomes 2020-2021 Postdoctoral Fellows
David Miller and Marzia Oceno

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David received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis.  His research focuses on the presidency, organized interests, and legislative politics and addresses substantive issues including representation and inequality in political voice.  His book project explores how presidents engage with organized interests to pursue their goals.

Oceno_headshotMarzia received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2020. Her research focuses on how gender-related attitudes and identities influence U.S. public opinion, candidate evaluations, campaigns and elections, and voter as well as legislator behavior. At Vanderbilt University’s CSDI, she plans to expand on her dissertation and transform the resulting research into a book manuscript, titled The Feminist Paradox: How Labels Keep Women Candidates from Equal Representation.

 Fun Quarantine Update!

We all were excited to see Co-Director, Larry Bartels’ Unequal Democracy being part of question on Jeopardy! The category was Obama's reading list and Nina was correct for $1,600.



  "Safer at Home" has not slowed us down!

Here is a sample of what we have been up to:

The Washington Post: Negative views of Asian people have risen in both parties - John Sides

CNBC: Coronavirus could push Americans to lobby for a social safety net like Europe's experts say - Josh Clinton is quoted

The Atlantic: The economy is collapsing. So are Trump’s reelection chances. - Larry Bartels is quoted.

NBC News: Delay the November Election? What voters think about the coronavirus and the campaign -Josh Clinton

The Washington Post: Why Trumps approval bump isn’t helping him against Joe Biden - John Sides

U.S. News and World Report: Can Democracy survive coronavirus? - John Geer is quoted.

The Washington post: : Surprisingly few voters think Trump cares about 'people like me'  - John Sides


 CSDI Graduate Affiliate Richard Hagner promoted to LTC

VU poll CSDI celebrated the promotion of graduate affiliate Richard Hagner in a ceremony on Saturday September 9th at the John Seigenthaler 1st Amendment Center. The promotion to Lieutenant Colonel was presided over by Lieutenant General Thomas A. Horlander. Other distinguished attendees were Lieutenant General (Ret.) Gary Cheek, Major General Bradley Gericke, Major General Gene Leboeuf, and Dr. Robert Davis as well as professors, colleagues, family and friends.  

 LTC Hagner is one of four Army officers attending Vanderbilt through the Army's Advanced Strategic Planning and Policy Program (ASP3).  ASP3 is a Chief of Staff of the Army initiative to develop strategic thinkers and future strategic leaders.  LTC Hagner's research focuses on institutions, the defense appropriations process, and national security outcomes.   Following completion of his dissertation next Spring, LTC Hagner will return to the Army to continue his military career.   


CSDI's  Shannon Meldon-Corney receives Staff Excellence Award

VU poll Congratulations to CSDI program coordinator, Shannon Meldon-Corney who received the College of Arts and Sciences Social Science Staff Excellence Award for 2018-19.

These awards recognize individuals who have provided outstanding service to faculty and students or who in other ways have significantly advanced the mission of the college in the previous academic year.



CSDI Welcomes 2019-2020 Senior Visiting Scholars Damarys Canache and Jeff Mondak

VU poll CSDI is pleased to announce 2019-2020 visiting scholars Damarys Canache and Jeff Mondak are in residence at the department.

Damarys, professor of political science at the University of Illinois and long-time LAPOP collaborator, studies comparative political behavior, especially in Latin America. Her current project examines the nature and consequences of polarized political attitudes in Venezuela.

 Jeff, the James M. Benson Chair in Public Issues and Civic Leadership at the University of Illinois, studies American and cross-national political behavior and political psychology. He is currently developing a conceptual and empirical framework for exploring citizen competence using a task-based approach.

 CSDI Welcomes 2019-2020 Postdoctoral Fellow Shawn Patterson

VU poll CSDI is happy to announce that 2019-2020 postdoc Shawn Patterson has started his appointment. Patterson received his Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA. His research focuses on the influence of political parties and interest groups in primary elections. The work stems from a larger collaborative project, Parties on the Ground, a multi-method approach to understanding nominations and the composition of political parties.

Oppenheimer Reconsidered Pictures

Oppenheimer Reconsidered was a great success!

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Oppenheimer Reconsidered

VU pollCSDI is hosting the Oppenheimer Reconsidered conference honoring Professor Bruce Oppenheimer on his retirement this coming April 25th and 26th. Over 30 former student, colleagues, and friends from across the United States will come together to present current scholarship on congressional politics and representation, including elections, institutional rules and norms, institutional change, and the legislative process. A concluding roundtable on future directions in the study of Congress will feature Oppenheimer, former student Frances Lee, David Rhode and Morris Fiorina. MORE

CSDI graduate affiliate Sheahan Virgin receives "Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant" Award

VU poll CSDI graduate affiliate Sheahan Virgin received the College of Arts and Science’s Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award at a college-wide faculty meeting on December 4th. Virgin has taught several courses, the most recent of which, Campaigns & Elections, was a guided independent study course pairing class lectures and discussion with immersive internship experiences in state and local political campaigns and a revise-and-resubmit paper project.


Political Science Undergraduate Student Nicholas Ainsworth Wins Award for Summer Research Project


 Undergraduate Nicholas Ainsworth, who is double majoring in Political Science and Disability Studies, received an award in the Social Sciences division of the Undergraduate Research Fair for his summer research program work. The project, titled “What Determines People's Attitudes Towards Transit?: Examining the Impact of Partisanship, Race, and Unequal Development” explored how people form opinions on transit policies. Among other tools he used data collected in the CSDI sponsored Vanderbilt University polls that examined Nashville residents’ opinions regarding the cities’ transit policy. Congratulations Nicholas!

CSDI Hosts the New Developments in the Study of Presidential and Executive Politics Conference              hermitage                                                                                                

In June of 2018 co-director Dave Lewis and affiliate Sharece Thrower hosted the inaugural New Developments in the Study of Presidential and Executive Politics Conference. More than 30 presidential scholars from across the world took part in the two-day event the first day of which took place at Andrew Jackson's home the Hermitage. The conference provided an opportunity for researchers from different generations and contexts to engage in formal and informal discussions about their scholarship.


 CSDI Affiliate Kristin Michelitch Named Andrew Carnegie Fellow

Michelitch Affiliate Kristin Michelitch was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow and awarded $200,000 to support her research on politicians and democracy in Uganda. She was one of 35 fellows named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to receive grant money to go “toward the funding of significant research and writing in the social sciences and humanities.” Read more

2018 Nashville Poll Released

VU pollCSDI co-directors Josh Clinton and John Geer released the findings of the most recent Vanderbilt poll which surveyed 800 residents of Nashville/Davidson county on issues important to the city.  Read more

CSDI affiliate Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden, University of Virginia Launch The Center For Effective Lawmaking

Wiseman_Volden_capitalOn September 26th, flanked by several present and former members of congress, Wiseman and Volden officially launched The Center For Effective Lawmaking. The Center, a joint initiative between the University of Virginia's Baten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Vanderbilt University, utilizes a data-driven approach to study the causes and consequences of each U.S. Representative's and Senator's ability to advance agenda items through the legislative process into law. The event included a news conference in which Wiseman and Volden revealed the highest-scoring members of Congress in the 114th Congress followed by a panel discussion with legislators describing what it takes to generate legislative accomplishments today.

CSDI co-director Larry Bartels wins Vanderbilt's most prestigious faculty award

VU pollBartels was awarded the Earl Sutherland Prize for Achievement in Research on August 24th during the Fall Faculty Assembly. "Larry is highly regarded as one of the world's foremost scholars of American democracy, " said Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos.  The award was accompanied by a cash prize of $10,000 and an engraved pewter julep cup.  Read more

CSDI is well represented in the July 2017 edition of the American Journal of Political Science

VU pollThe July 2017 American Journal of Political Science has 4 articles written by CSDI directors and affiliates. They include:  "Spatial Models of Legislative Effectiveness" co-written by Alan Wiseman, "To Revoke or Not Revoke? The Political Determinants of Executive Order Longevity" by Sharece Thrower,  "A House Divided? Roll Calls, Polarization, and Policy Differences in the U.S. House, 1877-2011 co-written by Josh Clinton and "Language, Shapes People's Time Perspective and Support for Future-Oriented Policies" co-written by Efren Perez.   

Spring 2017 VU Poll released

VU pollCSDI co-directors Josh Clinton and John Geer released the findings of the most recent Vanderbilt poll to the media via conference call on May 30th. Over 1,004 registered voters in Tennessee were surveyed between May 4 through the 15th. The results revealed that although a majority of Tennesseans still approve of the job President Trump is doing they are much less optimistic about his ability to change Washington for the better..  Read more

The 11th Edition of CSDI Director, Bruce Oppenheimer's book "Congress Reconsidered" has been released.

VU poll Lawrence Dodd and Bruce Oppenheimer released the first edition of "Congress Reconsidered" in 1977 and have consistently delivered the best contemporary work from leading congressional scholars in a form that is both analytical and accessible. "This edited volume is chock-full of thoughtful, empirically-minded essays by respected congressional scholars. It would be difficult to construct a text that is more effective than Dodd and Oppenheimer's in offering such accessible but serious treatments of contemporary issues in the U.S. Congress." Barry Burden University of Wisconsin-Madison.  As in previous editions close to 75% of the contributions in this volume are new and the remainder have been substantially revised.

15th Vanderbilt Poll Released

VU pollCSDI co-directors Josh Clinton and John Geer released the findings of the most recent Vanderbilt poll at a press conference on December 8th. Read more

CSDI Faculty Affiliate Marc Hetherington's books win awards.

VU pollMarc Hetherington's book "Why Washington Won't Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the governing Crisis" co authored by Thomas Rudolph received the very prestigious Alexander L. George book award of the International Soceity of Political Psychology. Hetherington's previous book "Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics" co-written with Jonathan Weiler and released in 2009 received the American Political Science Association's Philip E. Converse Award for an outstanding book published at least five years ago.


MoCSDI Faculty Affiliate Cecilia Hyunjung Mo's paper on the political identity of Asian Americans  is soon to appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Politics.

"Social Exclusion and Political Identity: The Case of Asian American Partisanship," co-authored by Cecilia Mo, Alexander Kuo and Neil Malhorta, was awarded APSA's 2015 Franklin L Burdette/Pi Sigma Alpha Award for the best paper presented at the previous year's annual meeting. "Why Asian Americans Don't Vote Republican," an op-ed written by Mo on this research appeared in the Washington Post's Monkey Cage, where it was one of the top 10 most read articles of the year. The story also ran in Fortune, Huffington Post, New Republic, Newsweek, Raw Story and The Conversation.


MPSA_AwardDoherty, Lewis, Limbocker Paper Wins MPSA'S Inaugural Kenneth J. Meier Award

Presented at the MPSA conference in April 2015, "Politics or Performance in Regulatory Personnel Turnover" by Kathleen Doherty, Dave Lewis and Scott Limbocker won MPSA"s inaugural Kenneth J. Meier Award for the best paper in bureaucratic politics, public administration or public policy.  The paper examined the turnover of agency contacts on major rules published from 1995 to 2013 finding evidence of turnover driven by presidential marginalization and strategic exit by bureaucrats.


Democracy For RealistsWhat do sharks have to do with Democracy? Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels explain

Are modern ideas of democracy fundamentally misguided? Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government by Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels examines the faults of current democratic logic that have lead the majority of people to make misinformed opinions about politics. As Achen and Bartels note, "politics is not often very cheery. But facing our problems honestly is the first step to doing something about them." In this spirit, the authors have taken time to explain their reasons for writing this book, what conventional ideas about democracy they oppose, the presidential primaries, and even shark attacks. Q&A


NBCCSDI Affiliate Marc Hetherington's Research on Authoritarianism is Getting a lot of Attention From the Mainstream Media as of Late.

In a piece published by Politico, The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You're a Trump Supporter" Hetherington's research was used to analyze the current presidential race.  The analysis revealed that individuals who score high on measures of authoritarianism are more likely to support Donald Trump for president. The article has been shared over 150,000 times. He is also quoted and his research is discussed extensively in a recent VOX article, "The rise of American authoritarianism" which asks "Why is the Republican electorate supporting a far-right populist with no real political experience? How has Donald Trump, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly become so popular?" 


NBCCSDI Co-Director Josh Clinton and Graduate Affiliate Carolyn Roush Working With NBC News

Josh Clinton and Carolyn Roush along with University of Pennsylvania Professor John Lapinski are working with NBC News to help make sense of the 2016 Presidential race. Their latest contribution, "Where Sanders and Clinton are Dominating" was published on January 27, 2016.


Jerry WrightCSDI Welcomes Senior Visiting Professor     Gerald Wright

CSDI is pleased to welcome Senior Visiting Professor Jerry Wright. Professor Wright (Indiana University) will be in residence for the entire 15-16 academic year. His research centers on the linkages between citizens and their governments.  He is the author or co-author of four books, Electoral Choice in America (1974), Congress and Policy Change (1986), Statehouse Democracy (1993), and Keeping the Republic 2d edition (2003) as well as over forty articles and book chapters.  His current research is on legislative coalitions, elections and representation in a comparative study of the state legislatures and Congress.


PFVCSDI Welcomes 15-16 Postdoctoral Fellows Melinda Ritchie and Nara Pavão

CSDI is happy to announce that our 15-16 Postdoctoral Fellows have arrived to begin their appointments.

Melinda (Molly) Ritchie recently defended her dissertation at the University of Illinois. Her research examines how members of Congress engage with bureaucratic agencies on policy issues and promotes our understanding of how the relationships between legislators and the executive branch influence the formation and implementation of policy.

Nara Pavão was just granted her Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. Her academic interests primarily focus on corruption, public opinion and voting behavior - more specifically on their intersection with issues of democratic governance and electoral accountability.


PFVFernández-Vázquez has Paper Published

CSDI Postdoctoral Fellow Pablo Fernández-Vázquez and co-authors Pablo Barberá and Gonzalo Rivero's paper Rooting Out Corruption or Rooting For Corruption? The Heterogeneous Electoral Consequences of Scandals  will be published in the August 2015 issue of  Political Science Research and Methods. PSRM is the official journal of the European Political Science Association.


NPCLewis and Richardson Release Results of the Survey on the Future of Government Service at the National Press Club, Washington D.C

CSDI Co-Director David Lewis and Graduate Affiliate Mark Richardson released the results of the Survey on the Future of Government Service during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on July 16th. Read more


Wiseman Book Receives Top HonorsWiseman book

CSDI Faculty Affiliate Alan Wiseman and co-author Craig Volden have been awarded both the American Political Science Associations 2015 Gladys M. Kammerer Award for the year's best book on U.S. national policy as well as the  2015 Richard F. Fenno, Jr Prize which is awarded to the best book in legislative studies published in the previous year.They will receive the awards for their book, Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Congress: The Lawmakers at the annual APSA meeting in September.


Claire Abernathy Abernathy Successfully Defends Dissertation

CSDI Graduate Affiliate Claire Abernathy has successfully defended her dissertation, Legislative Correspondence Management Practices: Congressional Offices and the Treatment of Constituent Opinion.  Claire's research focuses on Congress and representation. In her dissertation, she gathered original data from surveys and interviews with congressional staffers to explore how members of Congress discern the policy preferences held by their constituents. This fall, she will join the Political Science program at Stockton University in Galloway, NJ as an Assistant Professor (tenure track).


Clinton New Editor-in- Chief of QJPSQJPS

CSDI Co-Director Josh Clinton and Scott Ashworth were named editors-in-chief of the Quarterly Journal of Political Science. QJPS is dedicated to the publication of research developing and testing the empirical implications of positive political theories.

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Bartels named Andrew Carnegie Fellow

Larry Bartels, CSDI Co-director and May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science was named a Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Bartels is one of 31 fellows who comprise the inaugural class of the major annual scholarship program which provides support for scholars in the social sciences and humanities. Read more

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Wiseman discusses the Legislative Effectiveness Project on University of Chicago Radio Harris Podcast

CSDI faculty affiliate Alan Wiseman  recently returned from the University of Chicago,  Harris School of Public Policy where he visited the Center for Policy Entrepreneurship. While there he was featured on a University of Chicago Radio Harris podcast discussing the Legislative Effectiveness ProjectWiseman and his co-author Craig Volden have developed a systematic measure of the legislative effectiveness of members of Congress. The ratings can be found in their recent book, Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Congress: The Lawmakers, and on their website



John Geer, CSDI Co-director and Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science fielded Twitter questions on the 2015 Nashville Mayoral race in a live question and answer session hosted by Vanderbilt University. Read more 



CSDI Co-Director David Lewis received the Midwest Public Administration Caucus's Herbert Simon Award for significant contributions to the scientific study of bureaucracy. Lewis received the award at the Midwest Political Science Associations annual conference where he also delivered the Herbert Simon Lecture entitled "Ideology, Influence, and Personnel in the Executive Establishment." 



CSDI Co-Director David Lewis received the Madison Sarratt Prize For Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The prize rewards outstanding efforts in classroom presentation, concern for student learning, and clarity and fairness in the criteria used for awarding grades.

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CSDI Faculty Affiliate Cecilia Mo has received a $1 million grant from the US Department of Labor for her work testing the effects of mass media campaigns in Nepal and China on attitudes and behaviors regarding forced labor and child labor.

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CSDI faculty affiliate Alan Wiseman  received the 2014 Jeffrey Nordhaus Award For Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from Vanderbilt's College of Arts and Science.

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CSDI co-director Larry Bartels received the Warren E. Miller Prize at the 2014 APSA meeting. The Miller Prize recognizes and outstanding career of intellectual accomplishment and service to the profession in the Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior Field.

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CSDI Postdoctoral Fellow, Steven Rogers was the recipient of the APSA 2014 William Anderson Award for the best dissertation in the general field of federalism or Intergovernmental relations, state and local politics. He was also the co-recipient  for the APSA Christopher Mooney Dissertation Award for "Accountability in a Federal System."