Skip to main content

In the News – 2012 Election

Vanderbilt University experts are frequently called upon to explain and comment on a wide range of topics that will be important during the 2012 elections, both local and national. Here are some recent examples:

Week ending Friday, Nov.  16:

Gannett: Will new term be Biden’s ticket to a presidency bid?
The vice presidency historically has been a golden ticket to a presidential nomination. Whether that ticket works for Vice President Joe Biden in 2016 depends to a great extent on the baggage he may be carrying—particularly his age and his tendency to make verbal gaffes. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

The Daily Beast: Opinion: Were the Romney and Obama TV ads a total waste?
Early data from the Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project shows that while this year’s campaign ads were not as powerful as candidates may have hoped, they did still affect the election, writes John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science. Geer is quoted in a related story for the Associated Press: GOP groups taking stock after $380 million loss.

Iowa City Press-Citizen: Is party polarization starting to take over politics?
Democrats and Republicans alike say they want to cooperate with each other, but in reality, their actions in recent years make voters think partisanship has become the mantra of the political elite in both parties. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted here and in a related story in the Hindustan Times.

Week ending Friday, Nov. 9 (Election week):

MSNBC: Behind the scenes at the NBC decision desk
Josh Clinton
, associate professor of political science, was a member of the NBC decision team and is interviewed in this behind-the-scenes look at their work on election night.

National Public Radio: How Obama took the battleground states
Obama’s success in the battleground states came down to a mixture of demographics, superior organization and a few tactical missteps from Republicans, political observers tell NPR. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

National Public Radio: The good, bad, and ugly of this year’s campaign ads
As the election season ends, so does the ad season. With close to a billion dollars spent on presidential TV ads and more than a million spots, do any ads stand out as memorable? Well, they certainly don’t do what “Morning in America” did for Ronald Reagan. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, was interviewed.

Fox News Live: Video: History’s lesson for the presidential election
Thomas Schwartz
, professor of history, was interviewed at VUStar, Vanderbilt’s campus broadcast studio, about how history can inform the 2012 presidential election.

Boston Globe: Economy kept Obama afloat, blocked Romney win
Americans were not as willing as Romney to blame the president for the nation’s problems, even after Romney spent two years relentlessly prosecuting Obama over the damage: high unemployment, tepid growth, ballooning deficits. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Washington Times: Romney’s bid brings Mormons to political forefront

Mitt Romney’s run for president in 2012 has blazed a new path for Mormons, making him the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to fight his way to the top of a major-party ticket and into the hearts of millions of Americans on the biggest of political stages. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Vanderbilt, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Around Nashville, how you vote has a lot to do with where you live
Sociologists, political scientists and campaign professionals have spent most of the past two decades trying to figure out how to predict how people will cast their ballots. Magazine preferences, grocery store receipts, even the type of cars we drive can provide subtle clues about our political leanings. But in our increasingly divided political world, many researchers are finding that the best indicator could be our ZIP code. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Opinion: Romney’s plan will only stunt growth
The structural changes Mitt Romney advocates will cause future recessions to be deeper and will retard long-run growth, writes Malcolm Getz, associate professor of economics.

Week ending Friday, Nov. 2:

National Public Radio: What Romney’s run means for Mormonism
Two noted Mormon experts, including Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, said that they see national perceptions of the religion emerging largely unchanged by Romney’s run, but that perhaps it has helped Mormonism shed a bit of its mystery.

Bloomberg: Super-PACs kept Romney-Obama even in $1 billion ad race
After about $1 billion spent on more than one million presidential campaign ads—the vast majority negative—the race enters its final days in the same way both campaigns predicted it would a year ago: too close to call. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Los Angeles Times: Opinion: Ohio’s deluge of spin
Effective or not, campaign ads are interesting for what they say about the candidates and their strategies, writes columnist Doyle McManus. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Reuters: In presidential campaign ads, political science meets excess
The presidential race is now a fight in eight or so politically divided swing states, but nowhere more so than Ohio. Amid the chaos of the campaign’s closing days, the state has become an arena for credibility-stretching banter, and a testing center for the growing science of political advertising. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Reuters: Hurricane Sandy blows U.S. election off course
Hurricane Sandy blew the U.S. presidential race off course on Sunday even before it came ashore, forcing the candidates to shift or cancel campaign events and fueling fears that the massive storm bearing down on the East Coast could disrupt early voting. Research into the effect of bad weather on voting patterns by Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is mentioned here and in related stories in the Christian Science Monitor, Mother Jones, The Daily Beast and the French-language edition of Slate.

Toronto Star: U.S. congressional elections still have the power to make the country implode
Most agree that four more years of gridlock at a time when America is faced with both massive joblessness and mountainous debt would be a national disaster. But the situation would only worsen if the winner faces a Congress dominated by the other party. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Associated Press: Ramsey: GOP super majority in Tennessee Senate would bring challenges

State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey wouldn’t mind one bit having a super majority in his chamber, but the Blountville Republican acknowledges governing the group may be tough. If Republicans do get a super majority, Vanderbilt University political science professor Bruce Oppenheimer said they may experience problems because sometimes “there’s more competition … within the party than between parties.”

Washington Post: Opinion: Pollsters’ moment of truth
Among pollsters, there’s fear that changing technology and growing public unwillingness to do interviews are undermining telephone surveys — and that there’s no accurate replacement in sight, writes columnist Robert Samuelson. Sarah Igo, associate professor of history, is quoted.

Denver Post: Colorado revenue boost from marijuana legalization uncertain
Proponents of Amendment 64, the marijuana-legalization measure, frequently promote their initiative by talking about the money it would generate for state and local governments. But other experts who have examined the issue say it is deeply uncertain how much money the amendment could generate. Robert Mikos, professor of law, is quoted.

Morning Sentinel (Maine): Know the signs—they say a lot about candidates, causes
Political placards seem to scream at us, but those who make the ads say there’s an art to conveying an effective message. Cindy Kam, associate professor of political science, is quoted.

PolitiFact: George Flinn blames Steve Cohen for Shelby unemployment rate
A challenger to Congressional incumbent Steve Cohen has implied that Cohen is responsible for the area’s rising unemployment. Malcolm Getz, associate professor of economics, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Climate change on political ‘back burner’
When Americans elect a president in 2112, they might look back across the previous century and view this year’s election with regret, marking it as a time when the nation failed to take climate change seriously enough. Jonathan Gilligan, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Nashville’s Somalis embrace election
Nashville’s Somalis don’t want to hear how inconvenient it is to stand in long lines at the polls. For them, American elections are a miracle, worlds apart from Somalia’s old two-wooden-box system of voting, where the dictator in power decided the outcome. Katharine Donato, professor of sociology, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Oct. 26:

CNN: Debate’s agreement-fest makes it tough for undecideds to choose
For undecided voters still looking for something to move them into the decided column, Monday night’s presidential debate shed little light as both candidates expressed agreement on several key issues. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Insiders offer look into the world of political attack ads
The process of creating an attack ad is part science with a dab of creativity, panel members told several dozen students and audience members gathered for the discussion at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, participated in the panel and is quoted. The story was also covered by Murfreesboro’s Daily News Journal.

National Public Radio: Radio ads still relevant in presidential campaigns
Radio remains a key part of the ad strategies for the Obama and Romney campaigns. The candidates and their supporters use radio as a way to narrow cast to targeted demographic groups, and it’s a way to reach base voters with messages that might not appeal to — and in fact could turn off — a wider audience. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, was interviewed.

Associated Press: Enough already: voters hit with ads, calls, more
All the attention that the presidential campaigns are funneling into a small number of hard-fought states comes at a personal price for many voters. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Christian Science Monitor: Pimples at the polls: Argentina tries to lower voting age to 16
Argentina’s Senate voted this week to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to cast ballots at the polls, generating outcry from political opponents of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is widely supported by a growing youth movement. Jenny Diamond Cheng, lecturer in law, studied voter-age issues and is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Oct. 19:

Associated Press: Mean season: Negativity in Election 2012
In the sheer quantity of negative advertising and amount of dollars being spent, this year may mark the birth of an unprecedented era of negative campaigning, according to political scientists and campaign watchers. Contributing to the atmosphere is our extended campaign cycle of today, in which the barbs start flying long before the post-convention, fall campaign. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Nooga.com: Eric Stewart releases polling memo, declares 4th District race in “dead heat”
Any lead enjoyed by Rep. Scott DesJarlais in Tennessee’s 4th District race has all but evaporated—according to a memo for an internal poll released by his Democratic challenger Eric Stewart Wednesday. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Hindustan Times: Obama bounces back in second prez debate
President Barack Obama needed a strong performance on Tuesday night to show he did indeed want a second term. And that he was willing to work for it. He delivered. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

Chicago Tribune: Opinion: This column is awesome. A poll told me so.
“We’re like kids in the days before Christmas trying to peel back a corner of wrapping paper to get a glimpse at what the present might be,” writes Rex Huppke in this humor piece about political polling. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Bloomberg News: Opinion: Barrage of negative ads may haunt president-elect
John Geer, one of the most thoughtful and engaged U.S. political scientists, is a fan of negative campaigns. A central tenet of democracy, the Vanderbilt University professor says, “is to criticize those in power.” Further, he notes that casting an informed vote for a politician is like buying a car, requiring knowledge of the good and bad, and the candidate himself will only give you half the story. Yet even Geer, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is shaking his head at this year’s race. “This is setting records for the most negative campaign,” he says. The article was also included in the New York Times.

CNN: VP candidates lay groundwork for top of ticket on Tuesday
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential contender Paul Ryan plowed fertile ground in terms of policy and politics during last week’s debate — now the question is whether the presidential candidates can reap what was sown. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Associated Press: Political ads bombard viewers, but to what effect?
For the citizens living in the battleground states weeks prior to the presidential election, the campaign ads come in rapid succession during all hours:  in the middle of newscasts, soap operas and talk shows. The ads cover everything from jobs to education to trust, and they are sharply negative. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

National Journal: Do debate fact-checkers matter? Not so much
Both President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney continue to mischaracterize each other’s plans and their supporters don’t seem to care. Proponents of fact-checking argue that the latest media fad educates voters, but the deluge of information may do little to help partisans or less motivated voters stay informed. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted. 

WebMD Health News: Fungal meningitis question and answer 
More people have been stricken with fungal meningitis that’s been linked to contaminated steroid shots sold by a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts.  WebMD interviewed experts in fungal diseases for a question and answer session. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine, is quoted.

The Monkey Cage: Blog: Yellow may be the new blue: What voters think of the “big bird” ad
John Geer
, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, writes a guest post about the Obama campaign’s release of the Big Bird ad. Geer cites research data gathered from Vanderbilt / YouGov Ad project as part of the assessment of the ad’s impact on voters.

New York Times: Opinion: Acknowledge the limits of prediction
Sarah Igo, 
associate professor of history, writes an assessment on the history of election polls and their impact with predicting the electorate’s mood throughout the political campaigns in the United States.

Nashville City Paper: Tennessee voters attract little attention from candidates driven by Electoral College
Tennessee, which went blue for Bill Clinton 20 years ago, has become so solidly red that it can hardly attract the attention of the Electoral-College-driven presidential campaigns or the national pollsters seeking to work out the demographic breakdown of the November election. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

The Virginian-Pilot: Who really pulls the strings on America’s economy?
As economists report America’s improvement in key factors, there is plenty about the economy and the presidential election that divides people – not just professors in the classroom, but senior citizens at an exercise class, needy people in line for free food and college students in the dining hall. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Oct. 12:

The Chronicle of Higher Education: College issues loom larger in candidates’ campaign ads
Presidential candidates from both parties usually offer support for higher education in broad terms. This year, however, wonky subjects like income-based repayment programs and the interest rate on subsidized federal loans are playing a more prominent role in campaign rhetoric. Christopher Loss, assistant professor of leadership, policy and organizations, is quoted.

CNN.com: Numbers overload: Polling data hype sways voters
Treating presidential polls as gospel is a little like placing political faith in the lifespan of a fruit fly. Polls, experts stress, are simply a snapshot, not a prediction. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

The Globe and Mail (Canada): PBS not laughing at Obama’s Big Bird political ad
Big Bird appears in a new ad released on Tuesday by U.S. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, referring to challenger Mitt Romney’s pledge to cut funding for PBS. But the network has asked the Obama campaign to withdraw the ad, citing a desire for the institution to remain nonpartisan. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia): Romney faces both ways on foreign policy
Mitt Romney chose a military base in Virginia to deliver a major foreign policy speech laden with the fiery rhetoric of American exceptionalism and martial nationalism. But reading between the lines there is little discernible difference between the foreign policy stance Romney outlined and that of the current administration, which he derides as weak and apologetic. Thomas Schwartz, professor of history, is quoted.

ABC News: Romney’s Mormon generation gap
The Mormon faith – officially the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – is not immune to America’s political generation gap. Although the vast majority of Mormons identify themselves as Republican, the younger generation is not necessarily voting with their parents. In this election, religion is not the driving force behind at least some of the Mormon youth vote. Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, is quoted.

Christian Science Monitor: Will black voters give Obama what he needs in Southern swing states?
Black voters who do go to the polls are near certain to vote for Obama. But in Virginia and North Carolina, concern is rising that the black voters who sealed the deal for Obama in 2008 will stay home. Carol Swain, professor of political science and law, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, October 5:

Los Angeles Times: Obama, Romney square off with contrasting strategies
Wednesday night’s presidential debate featured two candidates with very different strategic imperatives talking, to some extent, to different audiences. The Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project is mentioned.

Voice of America: Experts suggest ways Obama, Romney can sway voters
As U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney prepare for the first of their three debates, analysts weigh in with their thoughts about what each candidate will need to do to sway voters in this pivotal election event. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Debate didn’t change campaign much, political analysts say
Political analysts in Tennessee said Republican challenger Mitt Romney more than held his own in the first of three debates with President Barack Obama on Wednesday but that little had changed in the political dynamics of the campaign heading into the final month. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, and Josh Clinton, associate professor of political science, are quoted.

Politico: Opinion: Ending the negativity about negative ads
Negative ads actually play a vital role in our political process, write John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, and Fred Davis, a longtime political strategist consulting with Geer on the Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project.

Bloomberg: Republicans seeking Medicare edge put parents in TV ads
Political ads featuring candidates’ elderly parents seek to put a human face on Medicare and defuse Democrats’ criticism that Republican plans to curb government spending would hurt the health insurance program for Americans 65 and older. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Christian Science Monitor: Obama and Romney fight for religious groups’ votes
Both President Obama and Mitt Romney are focusing on particular religious groups – Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Evangelical Christians. And Mr. Romney’s religion – Mormonism – is being covered by the media like never before in U.S. political history.Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, is quoted.

San Francisco Chronicle: Opinion: What Romney, Obama need to do in debate
Columnist Richard Dunham writes a five-point debate to-do list for each candidate. Efren Perez, assistant professor of political science, is quoted.

Futurity: Dwindling swing voters won’t sway election
The shrinking ranks of undecided voters have probably lost most of their power in the upcoming presidential election, according to a new survey led by John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science.

Meridien (Conn.) News Journal: Do lawn signs change anybody’s vote?
Campaign signs are starting to appear around town as Election Day approaches.Elizabeth Zechmeister and Cindy Kam, associate professors of political science, studied the effectiveness of campaign signs on name recognition and are quoted.

The Tennessean: TN Democrats not the only ones in South with candidate problems
All over the South, the party that once dominated the region has struggled to offer qualified contenders for major statewide offices. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, September 28:

CNN.com: Out of context, out of bounds? Not in 2012
Tweaking, bending, and embellishing facts have long been part of U.S. politics. It continues today as campaigns barrel toward Election Day even though media outlets and outside groups are dedicating more time and resources to how candidates and campaigns parse and spin their messages. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

The Daily Beast: Ohio is last stand for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign
The polling for Romney is much worse than it looks, with the Republican nominee falling behind nationally and not doing well in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project is mentioned.

CNN: In the final days of the 2012 campaign, it’s all about the slivers of voters
Swing voters are highly coveted by the Romney and Obama campaigns. Both realize they have to secure their base of supporters and at the same time, pursue and win over the dwindling slice of persuadable voters who are still undecided. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

McClatchy News Service: Romney looks to this week’s bus trip to re-spark campaign
The presidential campaign hits the road this week, with the stakes particularly high for Mitt Romney as he strives to firm up his image before debates take over the following week. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Huffington Post: Univision candidate forum ratings may change network and future elections
Univision, the nation’s top-rated Spanish language network, hosted the first-ever, back-to-back, Spanish-language forums with the U.S. presidential candidates. President Barack Obama and his GOP challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, made many of the same points presented all year to English-language audiences, but they also addressed a small set of questions that often haven’t been posed by English-language reporters, and may well have reshaped what it means to run for president in the future. Efren Perez, assistant professor of political science, is quoted.

Huffington Post: Study: Fox News turned congresspeople more conservative
A study led by Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, and graduate student Ted Enamorado has concluded that Fox News caused members of Congress to become more conservative during the network’s early years.

Religion News Service: Spiritual Politics: Mormons critiquing Romneynomics
Some prominent Mormon intellectuals are having a hard time with Mitt Romney’s write-down of that 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income tax. Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, September 21:

CNN.com: Who was the best foreign policy president?
Global Public Square asked a group of historians and commentators for their take on the most successful and least successful U.S. presidents, from a foreign policy point of view.James Lee Ray, professor of political science, and Thomas Schwartz, professor of history, contributed to the roundup.

Bloomberg: Self-loathing lawmakers running against U.S. Congress

Some U.S. lawmakers are seeking re-election by campaigning against Congress, which had a 13 percent approval rating in a Gallup survey taken Sept. 6-9—the worst showing for Congress this late in an election year and near the all-time low of 10 percent in February and August. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

National Public Radio: Is putting politics on display bad for business?
Every election season, political signs sprout like dandelions from lawns across America. They also pop up at more than a few businesses. For some, expressing political preferences is a calculated move to attract customers. But it can just as easily turn clients away. Cindy Kam, associate professor of political science, is quoted.

CBS News: Why is Mitt Romney losing his edge on the economy?
A handful of new surveys suggest that Romney is losing his edge on questions about the economy. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Salon.com: Study: “47 percent” not hurting Mitt
The findings from Gallup released Wednesday afternoon seemed logical enough: Voter reaction to the news of Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded disparagement of Obama supporters was decidedly negative. However, according to a survey conducted by the Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project, the video is enraging many Democrats and rallying some Republicans around Romney, but having essentially no impact on actual swing voters. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.  

Washington Post: Mitt Romney’s hard-hearted twist on the Mormon work ethic
The article discusses the influences of Republican values and Mormon values as both have shaped Romney and his current political stance that resulted in the controversial videotape of his comments regarding the 47-percent of voters at a private fundraising dinner.  Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, is quoted.

CNN: Opinion:  Who was the least successful foreign policy president?
Global Public Square asked a group of historians and commentators for their take on the most successful and least successful U.S. presidents, from a foreign policy point of view. Today’s article looks at the least successful. James Lee Ray, professor of political science, and Thomas Schwartz, professor of history, contribute to the column.

New York Times: Op-Ed: Look How Far We’ve Come Apart
Co-authored by Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, and Jonathan Haidt of the NYU-Stern School of Business, this op-ed addresses the idea that America is not united and it is getting less and less unitable with each passing decade. The opinion is supported by three graphs that show trends in the distance between parties, citizens’ trust of the parties, and feelings toward past candidates.

Boston Globe: Many fallacies mark Romney’s depiction of the 47 percent
Mitt Romney painted an inaccurate portrait of the “47 percent of Americans [who] pay no income tax” when he spoke — and was secretly videotaped — at a May fundraiser. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Religion News: Analysis: The myth of Mitt Romney’s evangelical problem
Media sources from The New Yorker to The Huffington Post to The Daily Beast have created a trending message that Mitt Romney has an evangelical problem. The national media have perpetuated this narrative throughout the election season, and many political columnists have assumed its reliability in their columns and commentary. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is mentioned.

Gannett News Service: Tennessee Republicans among recipients of Koch donations
The Koch brothers, the Kansas billionaire industrialists known for financing the Tea Party movement and countless conservative groups, extend their generosity to the Tennessee congressional delegation as well. So far for the 2012 elections, the Koch Industries political action committee, Koch PAC, has spread $42,500 among five Republican members of the delegation. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, September 14:

Los Angeles Times (Opinion): McManus: Who’s still undecided?
Recent political polls confirm voters have already decided on their choice of presidential candidate.  Swing voters may increase; however, there remains a small fraction that can be classified as truly undecided.  John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Washington Post: Democrats, Republicans and independents are hearing very different economic news
In Ezra Klein’s New Yorker report in June, he explored how partisans formulate (and change) their opinions and 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. Research conducted by Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is referenced.

Week ending Friday, September 7:

Agence France Presse: Obama, Romney face different challenges in debates
While President Barack Obama will be hard-pressed to defend his economic record in a series of debates next month, rival Mitt Romney faces an equally tricky task: presenting a better alternative to U.S. voters. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

EFE: Barack Obama, ante el reto de ilusionar de nuevo
Erwin Hargrove, emeritus professor of political science, is quoted in this Spanish newswire story about President Obama’s reelection challenges. The story also appeared in Portuguese.

Grist: Climate and energy get no love on day one of Democratic convention
Author Amanda Little, writer in residence in English, writes about the lack of attention paid to energy and environmental issues at the Democratic National Convention.

ABC News: OTUS blog: Democrats highlight convention partly open to public
This year, Democrats are looking to make an impression, hosting the first convention that both opens and closes with free events for the public. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Slate (France): A quel sondage ou prévision se fier pour suivre les élections américaines?
The French edition of Slate Magazine quotes Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, in this article explaining the electoral college.

CNN.com: Upstaged: Why everyone is talking about Eastwood, not Romney
Instead of basking in the afterglow of what many called a solid acceptance speech, the Romney campaign is now forced to deal with the aftermath of Clint Eastwood’s rambling “empty chair” routine at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

BBC News: Michelle Obama: Her four-year evolution
In 2008, some controversial remarks threatened to derail her husband’s election campaign. Yet four years later, Michelle Obama is widely regarded as a political star. Bonnie Dow, associate professor of communication studies, is quoted.

The Scotsman (U.K.): Playing hardball: The challenges facing Barack Obama
President Obama faces a dilemma that is as existential as it is political: How should a candidate whose mantra has always been “change” campaign for re-election? John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

EFE: La economía, el mayor enemigo de Obama en su campaña por la reelección
The economy is President Obama’s main campaign obstacle, reports the major Spanish newswire EFE. Thomas Schwartz, professor of history and political science, is quoted. The story appeared widely in the Spanish-language press around the world.

Week ending Friday, August 31:

Tampa Bay Times: PolitiFact: Rick Santorum says that when his grandfather arrived in the U.S., “there were no government benefits for immigrants”

Contrary to Rick Santorum’s claim that there were no government benefits available to immigrants in the 1920s, millions of Americans at the time would have either qualified for benefits directly, such as payments to veterans, or have been protected by workers’ compensation laws that provided benefits to those who became disabled by their jobs. They also would have had access to public education, public-funded healthcare for mothers and infants, and some form of assistance for the disabled and poor. Gary Gerstle, James Stahlman Professor of History, is quoted.

Christian Post: Dems eyeing rape, abortion protests as game changer to woo independents
With at least 10 percent of the U.S. voting population undecided 70 days before the election, Democrats and Republicans are launching different strategies to gather in what pundits are calling the “persuadables.” The Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project, which analyzes political ads, is mentioned.

Memphis Flyer: Column: About last night (and the next morning): The RNC launches with conversion stories and conservative values
While messages about tax cuts and small government remain unchanged, it’s clear that the GOP is trying very hard to rebrand itself, writes political columnist Chris Davis. Carol Swain, professor of political science and law, is at the convention and is quoted.

Los Angeles Times: Race and the presidential race
As the size of the nonwhite voting population in the U.S. has grown, so too has its power and the ability of minority voters to determine an election outcome. With blacks and Latinos backing President Obama by extremely large margins, Mitt Romney needs a historically high margin among whites to win the presidency. Research by John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, into the effectiveness of negative campaign advertising is mentioned.

Time: How Bain shaped Romney
No career can fully prepare you for the incomparable responsibilities of the presidency, but Romney’s business record displays qualities that nearly anyone would want to see in the White House. Margaret Blair, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise, is quoted.

Slate: Testing political ads online: Do people have to like an ad for it to work?

Vanderbilt University political scientist John Geer has teamed up with YouGov, a pollster that uses Internet-based samples, to launch the Ad Rating Project, which allows a 600-person panel to judge ads.

Arizona Republic: GOP to gather, support Romney
With disruptive Tropical Storm Isaac looming, Republicans are gathering in Tampa this week to unite behind Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, their 2012 presidential ticket, and start to make their case against President Barack Obama and his economic record. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: GOP aims to show diversity at convention
The GOP will try to showcase its diversity at this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., an effort cynics may call window dressing but that some Republicans hope signals greater strides in the future. Efren Perez, assistant professor of political science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Abortion platform plank divides TN’s GOP delegation
Sen. Lamar Alexander was among the few Tennessee Republicans last week willing to spell out exceptions to his otherwise unwavering support for the Republican Party’s platform outlawing abortion. The May 2012 Vanderbilt Poll found that 44 percent of Tennesseans believe abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in jeopardy.

Week ending Friday, August 24:

Los Angeles Times: Romney scores with ad on Obama’s character
A Romney campaign ad that accuses President Obama of underhanded tactics is the first to demonstrate an ability to shift the views of undecided voters, according to a continuing study of campaign advertising by John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, and online polling group YouGov.

Boston Globe: Abortion, gay marriage put party platforms in spotlight
Every four years, Democratic and Republican platform committees labor over manifestos that describe what it means to belong to their respective parties. And almost no one reads them. But these typically obscure documents have been elevated to national prominence this year. David Lewis, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Associated Press: Romney opening up a little about his religion
Mitt Romney is starting to open up a bit more about his lifelong commitment to Mormonism and his lay leadership in the church, following pleas from backers who say that talking about his faith could help him overcome his struggles to connect with voters. Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, August 17:

Washington Post: Opinion: President Obama, Mitt Romney running a most poisonous campaign
What is most striking about the presidential campaign is not just the negativity or the sheer volume of attack ads raining down on voters in swing states—it is the sense that all restraints are gone, the guardrails have disappeared and there is no incentive for anyone to hold back, writes political columnist Dan Balz. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. The column appeared in newspapers across the country.

The Hill: Obama super-PAC ad is rare backfire
The ongoing furor over a TV ad by a pro-Obama super-PAC that implies GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was to blame for the death of a former steelworker’s wife is a rare example of a political commercial that backfires. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Rolling Stone: Political ads: Overpriced, inefficient—and essential
In national elections as tight as we’ve become accustomed to, reaching a tiny target audience might be worth a massive investment in campaign advertising. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, and Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, are quoted.

Sky News (Australia): Obama’s re-election chances in jeopardy
Thomas Schwartz
, professor of history, was interviewed about the U.S. presidential campaign.

Public Radio International: Marketplace: Does ‘it’s the budget, stupid’ resonate with voters?
Thomas Schwartz
, professor of history, was interviewed about the importance of budget policy for voters.

The Atlantic: All the president’s mystery men (and women)
While campaigns trumpet their vice presidential picks, voters get little insight into who might staff a president-to-be’s cabinet—and help set administration policy. David Lewis, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

CNN.com: Is Romney’s campaign stalled?
This story, which ran before Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate, says Romney is trying to shift into high gear, but elections experts say his campaign seems to be stuck in second. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

Los Angeles Times: Both parties unfazed as ads fail fact-check
A Mitt Romney campaign ad targeting President Obama’s approach to welfare reform, and an Obama-allied “super PAC” linking Romney to a cancer death, are both labeled untrue. But neither campaign minds. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. The story appeared in Tribune newspapers across the country.

Chattanooga Times-Free Press: How did Fleischmann beat ‘two big names’?
When they voted for their nominee, six out of 10 Republicans in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District chose someone other than U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. Nevertheless, Fleischmann won the nomination. But a 61 percent anti-incumbent vote doesn’t mean as much when “two big names” — as Fleischmann described Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp on election night — split almost all of it. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Chattanooga Times-Free Press: Tennessee lawmakers worry about independent expenditures
State lawmakers in both parties are worried about the flood of independent expenditures by outside groups during Tennessee’s Aug. 2 legislative primaries. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, August 10:

The New Republic: Romney camp is confident, but his ads say otherwise
Rather than build up their candidate’s image, the Romney campaign and their Super PAC allies have focused on attacking the President. That’s either a big mistake, or a sign that the Obama campaign is doing better than some think. Results of the Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project are mentioned.

ABC News: The Note: Tennessee Democratic Party disavows conspiracy theorist candidate
Tennessee’s embattled Democratic Party is disavowing its senatorial candidate after party officials realized the candidate planned to use the race as a platform to broadcast his radical views. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Bloomberg: Solyndra report ending U.S. House probe fuels campaign rhetoric
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, after an 18-month investigation, yesterday said Solyndra showed how a desire to “create political events” to show off administration policies can result in “poor decision-making.” Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

The New Yorker: Daily Comment: Searching for the undecided voter
On a practical level, what this election is really about is persuading those voters who remain persuadable. In this context, what’s noteworthy about the Romney-Obama contest is that, with three months still to go before Election Day, there aren’t very many of them. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is quoted.

Associated Press: Maggart loses state House GOP primary to NRA pick
Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart lost her state House primary Thursday to a retired Air Force officer backed by the National Rifle Association. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted. The story appeared in RealClearPolitics, Paris Post-Intelligencer and Elizabethton Star.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Econochat: The assembled Allan Meltzer and Paul Krugman
Larry Bartels
, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is mentioned in this blog post about the effects of ignorance on the political process.

Arizona Republic: District 6 race: David Schweikert says ‘I like the fight’ in D.C.
U.S. Rep. David Schweikert is a natural politician, effortlessly connecting with voters while going door to door. But Schweikert also is a driven, relentless campaigner who has been accused of “sleazy” tactics. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. The story also appears in the Tucson Citizen.

Macomb (Mich.) Patch: Will campaign signs influence Macomb Township’s votes on Aug. 7?
Macomb Township candidates are spending thousands on campaign signs that have the potential to earn them the votes of residents making their election decisions based on name recognition. Vanderbilt research into the effectiveness of name recognition in elections is mentioned.

The Tennessean: With Debra Maggart’s defeat, gun-rights groups show power
While passion about gun rights contributed to the defeat of state Rep. and House Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart on Thursday, her ouster may not dramatically change how the legislature addresses Second Amendment rights — at least not in the near future. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: TN Democrats in disarray after Senate primary
Tennessee Democrats have disavowed primary winner Mark Clayton’s candidacy on Friday, saying he is associated with an anti-gay hate group. Josh Clinton, associate professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, August 3:

New York Times: Campaign Stops: Meet the undecided
Larry Bartels
, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, co-authored this blog post profiling undecided voters.

Los Angeles Times: Opinion: Romney commercial shows campaign ads don’t have to be nasty
A negative ad doesn’t have to be mean to be effective, writes political columnist Doyle McManus, following up on a Sunday column on the same topic. Research by John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, including the Ad Rating Project, is mentioned.

Associated Press: House candidates embrace role as sacrificial lambs
With a skeletal campaign operation, little money and no support from national bigwigs, long-shot candidates ensure their party has a name on the ballot, but not much else. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted. The story appeared in news outlets across the country.

Washington Post: Eight questions
Political columnist Dan Balz examines eight issues that will shape the election as the campaigns enter their last 100 days. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. The story also appears in the Bangor (Maine) Daily News.

Los Angeles Times: Opinion: In politics, accentuate the negative
Negative advertising works, and is not going away, writes politics columnist Doyle McManus. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, July 27:

CNN: Are Obama’s negative ads getting bang for the buck?
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign spent millions of dollars over the past few weeks in an advertising blitz aimed at negatively defining GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The Vanderbilt Ad Rating Project is mentioned here and in a related CNN story: GOP strategists: Bain attack ads are this year’s Swift Boat campaign. The project is also the subject of blog posts at the Los Angeles Times, AdAge and BET. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, discusses the project at the Monkey Cage.
The New Republic: Opinion: The Obama campaign’s attack-ad edge, revealed
A new ad-rating project run by Vanderbilt and YouGov assesses voters’ impressions of political ads, and one surprising result so far is the effectiveness of negative ads against Mitt Romney, writes columnist Alec MacGillis. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. The project is also featured in articles in the Chicago Tribune (which was distributed via the Tribune newswire to papers around the country), the Daily Beast/Newsweek’s political blog The Dish and the Atlantic Wire.

Bloomberg: Ad-rating project will assess campaign TV spots by asking voters
Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and YouGov, a global market research company, have launched a new ad-rating project that will ask viewers what they think about political TV spots. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. The story was also reported by U.S. News and World Report, Huffington Post and Washington Examiner.

Washington Post: Opinion: Can Romney reconcile his wealth and his faith?
Mitt Romney’s wealth seems to contradict Mormon beliefs against the hoarding of riches, writes religion columnist Lisa Miller. Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, July 20:

The Tennessean: Most Americans oppose unlimited corporate campaign spending
Most Americans know they have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, and for a clear majority that does not translate into allowing unlimited spending by corporations or labor unions on political campaigns, according to a new survey released Tuesday by the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt. Gene Policinski, vice president of the First Amendment Center, is quoted.

Politico: Veepstakes: The fine line between safe and boring
As the vice-presidential selection comes down to the wire — and amid some signs that the choice could come sooner rather than later — the court of Republican opinion seems to be swinging back toward the notion that a little bit boring may be the right play in a close election in which the challenger can’t afford any mistakes or unscripted drama. David Lewis, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, July 13:

Los Angeles: Op-ed: Attack ad politics
Election day is almost four months away, but the bombardment has begun in key swing cities, where television stations are already running short of advertising time to sell, writes Washington columnist Doyle McManus. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. The column was printed in newspapers across the country.

Week ending Friday, July 6:

New York Times: Stakes for jobs figures rise as voters’ views start to solidify
This is the time of year that some experts believe the country’s undecided voters are beginning to cement their presidential picks, making the latest jobs report even more important. Larry Bartels, professor of political science, is quoted.

Pittsburgh Tribune: Obama’s CMU stop to target W. Pa. youth
President Obama almost certainly cannot win Pennsylvania again on Nov. 6 without Pittsburgh. He also needs a resurgence of the young voters who helped carry him in 2008, renewed enthusiasm in urban Democratic strongholds and sweeping faith in his economic vision, making his stop at Carnegie Mellon University important to his campaign. David Lewis, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, June 29:

National Public Radio: Putting a positive spin on negative campaigning
Negative campaigning is hardly new, but at the rate this year’s campaign is going some say this could be one of the most negative races in recent history. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, was interviewed for the story at VUStar, Vanderbilt’s campus broadcast facility.

New York Times: Campaign Stops: White working chaos
Political analysts, journalists and academics are fighting over white working-class voters – over how to define them and what their political significance is. And it’s not just crucial for the presidential election: understanding what the white working class is and where it is going is fundamental if we want to understand where the country is going. Larry Bartels, professor of political science, is quoted.

Huffington Post: Obama immigration, gay marriage ‘evolution’ shifts voter opinion, galvanizes base
Less than six months from the election that will determine whether President Barack Obama returns to office, Obama announced plans to offer some measure of relief to as many as 1.4 million young unauthorized immigrants, often dubbed Dreamers, in reference to the Dream Act, a decade-old immigration reform bill. Efren Perez, assistant professor of political science, is quoted.

Salon: Opinion: Are Americans dumb?
The intelligence of the electorate is certainly a common debate among both liberals and conservatives, though perhaps one rarely articulated by members of Congress, writes columnist Alex Seitz-Wald. Larry Bartels, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, June 22:

Washington Monthly: Opinion: The party of the American working man and woman
Larry Bartels, professor of political science, writes that if Democrats want to be the party of the American working man and woman they’re currently doing pretty well, averaging 54 percent of the major-party vote among all employed people in the past five presidential elections. But nowadays “the American working man and woman” is more often than not a college graduate, an African-American or a Latino, not the white working class.

New York Times: Opinion: Canaries in the coal mine
Over the past few decades, working class whites – loosely defined as those without college degrees – have been a strikingly reliable indicator of the strength of the two main political parties, writes contributor Thomas Edsall. Larry Bartels, professor of political science, is quoted.

Boston Globe: Ideas: Five obscure tactics to snarl Congress
The arcane procedural rules on Capitol Hill, especially in the Senate, offer legislators any number of obscure ways to thwart the plans of their opponents. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

New York Magazine: Opinion: Nuke ‘em
Negative advertisements are powerful, essential, and sometimes even artistic, writes Frank Rich. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, June 15:

Boston Globe: Ideas: Obama? Romney? How about both?
An Indiana University professor’s vision of a shared presidency is one of several far-out proposals being floated by legal scholars who believe the United States government has become so dysfunctional that it requires radical restructuring. David Lewis, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, is quoted.

Christian Science Monitor: Can Hispanics see themselves as ‘Junto con Romney’ – Together with Romney?
Prepping for what some see as a potential game-changer speech in front of a Hispanic audience later this month, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has begun an effort to recalibrate his fiery anti-illegal immigration rhetoric to dig into the 2-1 advantage President Obama has among the 50 million-strong U.S. Latino community. Efren Perez, assistant professor of political science and expert in Latino voter issues, is quoted here and in a related story: Florida vows to defy Justice Department, continue with voter purge.

The Tennessean: Mitt Romney visits Williamson County today for third local fundraiser
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will make at least his third fundraising visit of the 2012 campaign to Middle Tennessee — but still won’t appear before ordinary voters — when he touches down in Williamson County today. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, June 8:

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Romney gets more money, Obama more donors in East Tennessee
When it comes to overall campaign contributions, Republican Mitt Romney holds a huge advantage over Obama in East Tennessee. But in terms of individual donors, it’s Obama who is far out front: He has nearly twice as many donors in East Tennessee as Romney does. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Tom Humphrey: Poll indicates Democrats tend to suppress own vote
A recent Vanderbilt University poll found that, if you count adults who aren’t registered to vote, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are locked in a dead heat for carrying Tennessee in this year’s presidential election. But Romney does much better among registered voters, suggesting that Democrats aren’t registering voters as well as Republicans.

Chattanooga Times-Free Press: Chattanooga mayoral races pricey; Berke is off and running
If history repeats itself, it will take hundreds of thousands of dollars to even be considered a candidate for Chattanooga mayor, and state Sen. Andy Berke is firing the first shot on fundraising. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, June 1:

Los Angeles Times: Study finds wealthy donors lean toward centrist candidates
Despite claims that the country’s wealthiest donors heavily favor the right—or the left—Stanford research shows they trend toward the middle. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shane Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, comments on the research.

Week ending Friday, May 25:

Nashville Scene: Has Obama really closed the gap with Romney in Tennessee?
On Sunday, The Tennessean gave its story about the latest Vanderbilt Poll a headline suggesting a tight race between President Obama and candidate Mitt Romney in the fall. In fact, the poll results show that while both candidates were about even among adults polled, Romney came out significantly ahead among registered voters. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, which conducted the poll, is quoted here and in a related story for Business Insider: Obama is down less than one point in … Tennessee.

The Street: Report of Obama-Wright ad tests media waters
Political news exploded Thursday when a document revealed that a GOP super PAC had considered a plan to launch a major attack advertising campaign against Obama for past ties with his controversial former spiritual adviser. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Bob Corker’s money, name recognition make him heavy favorite
With his newly formed belief that congressional frustration levels are on the verge of reaching the breaking point, especially on the overriding issue of dealing with national debt, Sen. Bob Corker said he decided to run for office again. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Chattanooga Times-Free Press: Stakes high on eve of Tennessee’s 3rd District Republican debate
An incumbent, two challengers and the voters they’re courting will meet Monday in the first debate of an unusual 3rd Congressional District Republican primary. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Politico: Blog: Tenn. poll: A blowout wrapped in a nail-biter
A Tennessean headline misleadingly suggests that President Obama has a chance of winning Tennessee according to the Vanderbilt Poll, writes columnist Charlie Mahtesian. But poll data shows that while the adults polled support Obama and Romney about equally, Romney is the clear leader among registered voters. The story is also covered on the media blog Mediaite: President Obama tied with Romney in Tennessee, according to poll.

The Tennessean: Vanderbilt Poll: Obama closes gap with Romney
The Vanderbilt Poll has found that while Tennessee adults support Obama and Romney about equally, Romney is the clear leader among registered voters. The poll also found that Tennesseans weren’t thrilled with the Republican-led General Assembly’s frequent focus on social, cultural and religious issues this year. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, which conducted the poll, is quoted. These poll results are also mentioned in Gail Kerr’s column for The Tennessean: ‘Gateway sex’ bill makes TN a laughingstock again.

The Tennessean: Tennesseans show ‘bittersweet’ reaction to health law in Vanderbilt Poll
The provision of the health care reform law that allows parents to keep health coverage for their children until the age of 26 gets a resounding 73 percent approval by state residents, but that doesn’t mean they like what opponents have dubbed “Obamacare.” A majority of Tennesseans have an unfavorable view of the law and want the U.S. Supreme Court to find all or portions of it unconstitutional, according to the Vanderbilt Poll. Jim Blumstein, University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law and Policy, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, May 11:

Agence France Presse: Obama unleashes negative barrage on Romney
President Obama’s reelection campaign has unleashed a daily, negative, character-based slashing of his November foe, ahead of the president’s official campaign kick-off rallies in the crucial battlegrounds of Virginia and Ohio on Saturday. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. The story has run in multiple languages around the world.

Week ending Friday, May 4:

Wall Street Journal: Attack ads make early entry
The Obama and Romney camps are moving to quickly try to set public impressions of the opposing candidate with negative ads. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Bloomberg News: Oil drilling advocates drive presidential debate with ads
While polls show the economy as the top concern of voters, a review of political attack ads suggests a different issue dominates: energy. Americans for Prosperity, an organization backed by oil interests, last week began airing its third television commercial since November, a campaign worth $6.1 million, attacking Obama’s green energy policies. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

ABC Color (Paraguay): Latinas no tienen tiempo para la política
Research by the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt shows that family obligations keep most women in Latin America and the Caribbean from fully participating in politics.

The Australian: From former presidents’ club, a once-bitter rival to the rescue
President Clinton has begun to campaign for the reelection of President Obama, signaling a turnaround in a relationship that was bitterly strained during Obama’s 2008 campaign against President Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Lawrence (Kan.) Journal World: Opinion: Is likability the key to ‘12 victory?
The United States is about to conduct its greatest test in more than four decades of the power of personality, measuring whether in tough times a man with difficulty relating to average Americans can defeat an incumbent with a mixed record but natural personal skills, writes Pittsburgh Post-Gazette executive editor and Kansas native David Shribman. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: TN’s freshman lawmakers donate to colleagues
Tennessee’s first-term House members are donating thousands of dollars to other freshman lawmakers, a move political experts say may help them advance up the rungs of party leadership. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friay, April 27:

The Week: Four ways Mitt Romney can woo Latino voters
Many experts say that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney cannot win the general election if he can’t win over Hispanic voters without alienating the rest of his base. Efren Perez, assistant professor of political science, is quoted.

ABC News: The Note: When should Mitt Romney talk about his Mormon faith?
When Mitt Romney is assessed as a candidate for the presidency, a handful of potential vulnerabilities are often cited. Among them are his wealth and, as a result, his difficulties connecting with voters, as well as his Mormon faith. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Huffington Post: Romney’s election conundrum: Win independent and GOP vote, risk making Latino voters anti-Romney
Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney needs to draw the Republican base of increasingly older, white male voters and the lion’s share of independent voters to the polls in November, but he also needs a coalition beyond that base, with a slice of independent voters and a significant portion the nation’s Latino electorate to win. Efren Perez, assistant professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, April 20:

Chattanooga Times-Free Press: Political insiders eye ways to entice Third District voters
Carefully crafted political campaign messages don’t seem to be reaching the deepest parts of the Third District, the rural areas far from the cities. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Nooga.com: Mayfield releases poll showing himself ahead of Fleischmann, Wamp
More than one month after hiring a “top GOP pollster” to conduct research for his campaign, 3rd District candidate Scottie Mayfield released results of a poll indicating he is nine points ahead of both Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and Weston Wamp. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Bloomberg: No double-dip deja vu seen for U.S. economy
The U.S. looks unlikely to suffer the same sort of swoon this year as the one in 2011: Household, bank and company balance sheets are stronger, and the shocks hitting the economy so far are weaker, with retail sales rising more than forecast as gasoline prices show signs of slipping from an early-year increase. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Campaigns fight for women’s votes
In the past week, the fight for female voters escalated into the kind of frenzy not typically seen until after Labor Day, as presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney fought furiously to reduce a huge lead by President Barack Obama in polls of women. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, April 13:

New York Times: Opinion: Are elections too much like musical chairs?
If the last 15 presidential elections are a reliable guide, income growth between now and Nov. 6 will matter more to voters than how the economy has fared through President Obama’s first 39 months in the White House, writes Larry Bartels, professor of political science, for the newspaper’s campaign blog.

Week ending Friday, April 6:

Politico: Shrinking paychecks may hurt Obama
Research shows that the amount of money Americans earn after taxes and inflation is one of the most reliable predictors of a president’s November chances — more so than the unemployment rate. In the past year, most Americans have barely seen a bump in earnings, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Larry Bartels, professor of political science, has studied the relationship between the economy and politics and is quoted.

Salon: Opinion: Why the GOP distrusts science
The rapid decline of confidence in the scientific community among self-described U.S. political conservatives has to do with a combination of psychology and politics, writes Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science. Research by Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is mentioned.

Week ending Friday, April 2:

Postmedia News (Canada): The ex-president no one loves: George W. Bush invisible in primary campaigns
George W. Bush is still nowhere to be found in the 2012 campaign despite endorsements from Barbara Bush, Jeb Bush and George H.W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination. The 43rd president has deliberately kept a low profile throughout the long Republican primary season. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, March 23:

Bloomberg News: Romney and the Mormon factor
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith is a persisting problem in his campaign, as evangelical voters consider his religion suspect. Less certain is whether this is limited to the Republican primaries or if it’s a general-election worry, too. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. The story also appeared in the New York Times.

The Tennessean: TN Republicans push social issues
As Tennessee lawmakers rush to the finish of the two-year legislative session, Republican leaders say they want their first term in control of the state Capitol to be remembered for their efforts to create jobs and reform schools. But social issues are making their way to the top of the agenda, forcing debates that have garnered national attention. The story mentions results from the Vanderbilt Poll showing an overall positive approval rating for the Tennessee Legislature.

Week ending Friday, March 17, 2012

Ad Age: Could super PACs actually be good for democracy?
With Super Tuesday in the rearview mirror, it’s not clear that super PACS, organizations that accept unlimited individual and corporate donations and run negative ads with impunity, have turned out to be the scary monsters that gobbled up democracy. In fact, they may have benefited the process. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and expert in political advertising, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, March 10, 2012:

National Public Radio: Pro-Romney superPAC spent big on Super Tuesday
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s six primary wins on Super Tuesday didn’t come cheap. An NPR analysis shows that last week alone, the Romney campaign and the pro-Romney superPAC combined spent nearly $7 million on TV ads. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Tennessee shows relevance, keeps GOP nomination muddied
If not for Tennessee, the slugfest for the GOP presidential nomination might already be over. Rick Santorum’s solid victory over Mitt Romney in Tennessee in the Super Tuesday presidential primary enables the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania to stay in the race and all but guarantees that the bloody battle for the GOP nomination will drag on for weeks. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Boston Globe: Romney fails to quiet doubts over evangelical vote in South
Mitt Romney’s disappointing second-place finish in Tennessee last night deprived him of a victory that his campaign had hoped would dispel lingering doubts about the ability of a Mormon from Massachusetts to appeal to evangelical Christians in the Bible Belt. The results of the most recent Vanderbilt Poll, which showed Santorum leading Romney amid concerns about Romney’s Mormon faith, are mentioned.

Huffington Post: Voter ID laws may still be discriminatory despite high voter turnout in Super Tuesday primaries
Some election officials are pointing to high turnout in Super Tuesday states as proof that controversial voter identification laws, which require citizens to provide official identification in 30 states before they cast ballots, do not dampen voter response. But the Republican primaries may not provide the best sample of voters who could be affected by such laws. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Super split
In a split Super Tuesday verdict, Mitt Romney registered early wins on the East Coast, in his home state of Massachusetts and Vermont and also in Virginia, where neither Santorum nor Gingrich appeared on the ballot. All three of those states were won by Barack Obama in 2008, while Rick Santorum won in a more geographically diverse set of states that Republicans captured four years ago — Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll, is quoted.

FOX News: Video: What matters most to Volunteer State voters?
John Geer
, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, was interviewed about the presidential race and Super Tuesday. The interview was conducted at VUStar, Vanderbilt’s campus broadcast facility and also ran on FOX Business Network.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Gingrich sees momentum in Tennessee
Victory in Georgia nearly in hand, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is pumping time and money into neighboring Tennessee on the eve of Super Tuesday. The Vanderbilt Poll is mentioned and John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and co-director of the poll, is quoted.

The Tennessean: TN GOP primary might be too close to call, polls show
Polls show the race to win Tennessee’s Republican presidential primary is tightening, with Rick Santorum’s once sizeable lead dwindling as Mitt Romney and perhaps Newt Gingrich are surging on the eve of Super Tuesday. The results of the most recent Vanderbilt Poll are mentioned here and in related stories by the Washington Post: Romney up in Super Tuesday polls, Memphis Commercial Appeal: Tennessee primary races to homestretch, Nooga.com: Tennessee Super Tuesday vote up for grabs and TriCities.com: Delegates a primary issue as Tennessee gets ready to vote.

Huffington Post: Video: Vanderbilt University students on the GOP candidates
The Huffington Post teamed up with mtvU to get the pulse of how college campuses felt about the elections. The Hustler interviewed some Vanderbilt students about the GOP candidates.

Wall Street Journal: Tennessee viewed as a Southern bellwether
Mitt Romney is showing signs of closing in on Rick Santorum in Tennessee, drawing new attention to the state as a battleground ahead of this week’s Super Tuesday balloting. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll, is quoted and the results of the poll are mentioned here and in a related story by United Press International: Tennessee’s 56-delegate prize awaits.

McClatchy Newspapers: In U.S. politics, religion often is thrown into the mix
Even as poll after poll shows that jobs and the economy are the public’s primary concerns, long-divisive social issues involving matters of personal faith and beliefs have become an increasing part of the effort to win the White House, as well as dominance on Capitol Hill. Carol Swain, professor of law and political science, is quoted.

CNN: Political Ticker: Poll: All tied up in Tennessee
With two days to go until Super Tuesday, it’s all knotted up in Tennessee’s Republican presidential primary, according to an American Research Group survey released Sunday. The results of the Vanderbilt Poll, conducted last month, are mentioned here and in a related article on Slate: The post-momentum Super Tuesday.

The Nation: Opinion: Romney’s last stand at the Alamo
Super Tuesday is not that super, with only 437 delegates at play. There are four more months of primary elections and there are still 2,002 delegates up for grabs, meaning Romney could still lose the nomination, writes blogger Victoria DeFrancesco Soto. According to a study conducted at the beginning of 2012 by John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and Brett Benson, assistant professor of political science, and Jennifer Merolla at Claremont Graduate, Romney’s faith continues to be his Achilles heel in the South.

Associated Press: Election officials optimistic about voter ID law
State election officials say the small number of Tennesseans who didn’t have proper identification during early voting indicates people are adjusting to a new law that requires them to have a photo ID to vote, but others say the real test will be the general election in November. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

PolitiFact Tennessee: Gov. Haslam links his jobs plan with state’s improved economic picture
The political factchecking site maintained by the Memphis Commercial Appeal and Knoxville News-Sentinel examines Gov. Bill Haslam’s claim that, “in 2011, there were more than 28,000 new Tennessee jobs created and over $4 billion in capital investment. Our Jobs4TN plan is working.” Malcolm Getz, associate professor of economics, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Election battle could signal future of TN GOP
With Republicans firmly in control of Tennessee, the outcome of the battle between Romney and Santorum could signal the direction in which the Tennessee GOP, and possibly the entire state, will march for years to come. Results of the recent Vanderbilt Poll showing Santorum leading Romney are mentioned.

The Tennessean: Young voters cool to Obama
Young voters as a group moved strongly to the left from 2000 to 2008, but there are indications they might not stay there. Polling suggests a Republican nominee would have a chance with them, but that will take some convincing. Vanderbilt students Paige Diner and Liliane Ernst have set up a student group on campus to help Democrats connect with President Obama’s campaign.

WSMV, Channel 4, interviewed Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, about presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s narrowing lead in polls ahead of the Super Tuesday Primary. (Read)

Week ending Friday, March 2, 2012:

ABC News: On to Super Tuesday: GOP battles on for Tennessee
With 58 delegates up for grabs next week, Tennessee won’t just be known as a country music mecca or the home of Elvis Presley, but instead, its large delegate count and strong conservative roots may help some candidates make a dent in their race for the 437 delegates up for grabs nationwide on Super Tuesday. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted and the results of the most recent Vanderbilt Poll are mentioned. The Vanderbilt Poll is mentioned in related stories in the Tennessean: Rick Santorum takes jab at rivals during Belmont visit and MTSU poll: Santorum leads Romney—and Obama—in TN.

Fox News Live: Will Arizona and Michigan races affect Super Tuesday?
John Geer
, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, was interviewed about the importance of the Arizona and Michigan primaries on the presidential race. The live interview was conducted at VUStar, Vanderbilt’s campus broadcast facility.

CNN.com: Political Ticker: Gingrich zeroes in on Santorum in the South
Newt Gingrich zeroed in on Rick Santorum as a “big-labor Republican” Monday, and said the GOP presidential race is “going to redefine itself again” one week before crucial contests on Super Tuesday. According to the Vanderbilt Poll, taken between February 16 and February 22, Santorum leads with 33 percent among registered and likely voters surveyed. The poll results were also mentioned in related stories by:

John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and co-director of the poll, is quoted in related stories by the Associated Press: Gingrich slams Santorum as ‘big labor Republican’ and the City Paper: Gingrich uses Nashville visit to slam Obama on gas prices. Josh Clinton, associate professor of political science and co-director of the poll, is quoted in The Tennessean: Republican excitement in primary is lacking.

The Tennessean: Rick Santorum leads big in TN, poll finds
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has brought his national momentum to Tennessee, outdistancing Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney by a nearly 2-to-1 margin among voters taking part in the latest Vanderbilt Poll. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted. A related story reports that while Santorum is the Republican favorite and many are uneasy about Romney’s Mormon faith, most Republicans would still choose Romney over Obama in a general election: Poll: Romney’s Mormon faith may not hurt him in TN. Josh Clinton, associate professor of political science and co-director of the poll, is quoted. The poll results were reported in Gannett newspapers around the country including USA Today. The results were also reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Gingrich sets his sights on Tennessee, Knoxville News-Sentinel: Vandy poll shows Santorum with big TN lead over Romney, and WPLN: Santorum leads in Vanderbilt Poll, headed to fundraise in Nashville.

Chattanooga Times-Free Press: U.S. Senator Bob Corker’s fundraising well ahead of opponents’
Sen. Bob Corker’s ability to raise millions when he has no serious challengers highlights an unusual fundraising prowess, experts said. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Nooga.com: Could Obama take Tennessee in 2012?
Tennessee has not gone blue in a presidential election since 1996, but with nine months remaining till the Nov. 6 election, some Obama supporters think that “anything can happen.” Josh Clinton, associate professor of political science and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Feb. 24, 2012:

MSNBC.com: Devil in the details: Santorum hardly alone in belief in Satan
Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and 2012 Republican presidential contender, is making headlines this week for comments he made at a Catholic university in 2008 about Satan having his “sights on” America. While such frank talk about spiritual warfare is uncommon among presidential candidates, surveys over the past few decades have shown that the majority of Americans do believe in Satan. C. Melissa Snarr, associate professor of ethics and society at Vanderbilt Divinity School, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Mitt Romney campaign email, super PAC ad share uncanny similarities
A TV commercial broadcast locally for the past week by Restore Our Future, a purportedly independent political action committee supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and an email sent out this week by Romney’s campaign follow an almost identical line of attack, although superPACs and campaigns are prohibited from coordinating their messages. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Romney leads in Tennessee fundraising
Campaign finance records show Mitt Romney raised $898,081 from Tennessee donors as of Dec. 31 – almost double President Barack Obama’s haul of $482,599 and more than four times as much as the nearest Republican rival, Texas Rep. Ron Paul. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Haslam’s pick may have edge in Davidson Circuit Judge race
Judicial vacancies in Tennessee are temporarily filled by the governor until an election is held. Whoever wins the appointment from Haslam will have the advantage of running as an incumbent, and an endorsement from a governor whose approval rating was more than 50 percent in a June poll conducted by Vanderbilt University.

City Paper: Obama campaign in Tennessee gears up for tougher general election fight than in 2008
In the days and weeks leading up to Tennessee’s March 6 presidential primary, most of the state will be transfixed on the Republican race, waiting to see which of the four remaining Republican candidates will win over Tennessee voters.  A Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t won the state since 1996. Joshua Clinton, associate professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Feb. 17, 2012

National Public Radio: Advertising war heats up before Mich. primary
Michigan’s primary isn’t until Feb. 28, but Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney — as well as a superPAC supporting Romney — have taken to the airwaves with a mix of positive and negative advertising. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Racial appeals live on in politics
As the Republican presidential campaign heads toward primaries in Tennessee and nine other states on March 6, with early voting starting Wednesday, some race-related remarks and actions by GOP candidates have a familiar ring. David Lewis, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Chattanooga Times-Free Press: Republican congressional candidate Weston Wamp pushes debate
Weston Wamp, the 24-year-old son of former congressman Zach Wamp, issued a debate challenge three days after dairy executive Scottie Mayfield became the second big name to challenge Fleischmann, a first-term Republican, in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District. David Lewis, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Feb. 10, 2012

Arizona Republic: Big wins reignite candidacy, but is Santorum a contender in Arizona?
If Rick Santorum hopes to translate his sweep Tuesday of Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri into momentum in Arizona’s coming Republican presidential-preference election, he’ll have to make up for lost time. Although the publicity windfall associated with his big victories no doubt will boost his Arizona poll standing to some degree, Santorum appears to have no trace of an organization in the state, which votes on Feb. 28. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

National Public Radio: Negative political ad campaigns bigger than ever
The percentage of negative political TV ads has increased sharply in the run up to the 2012 election. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is interviewed about why the landscape has changed so drastically.

Washington Post: Voter frustration makes for tumultuous GOP primary
For the first time in history, voters in the first three states to choose a candidate picked three different winners. This is the work of an agitated electorate, fluctuating state by state in search of a candidate comfort they haven’t found. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Jan. 3

Nooga.com: PACs add to Fleischmann campaign war chest, Wamp plans response
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann barely out-raised Weston Wamp in the fourth fundraising quarter of 2011, raking in a total of $321,230 in contributions as opposed to Wamp’s $307,646. The figures are close, but records show that Fleischmann’s three-month tally was bolstered by $138,000 in contributions stemming from political action committees. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Politco.com: For GOP, dislike for Obama trumps all
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 but a recent poll suggests voting Republicans would pick Romney over President Barack Obama in a national election. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, Brett Benson, assistant professor of political science, and researcher Jennifer Merolla, contribute this opinion piece citing results from that poll.

Chattanooga Times-Free Press: Fleischmann, Wamp show fundraising muscle
John Geer
, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted in this article about successful fundraising efforts by Weston Wamp and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.

Tennessean: TN Democrats seek celebrity to challenge Corker
Democrats are looking for a politician with star power who might be able to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Corker. A recent Vanderbilt Poll, conducted Oct. 28-Nov. 5, found 46 percent of respondents approved of Corker’s job performance, compared with 27 percent who disapproved. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Jan. 27

Bloomberg: ‘Stop-Newt’ Republicans confront base unwilling to take orders
Recent comments by former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty expressing concerns that nominating Newt Gingrich would effectively hand the election to Barack Obama echoed those being uttered publicly and behind the scenes by Republicans who represent a portion of the party establishment—a “stop-Newt” caucus—populated largely by people who have known the former U.S. House speaker for decades. Gary Gerstle, James Stahlman Professor of History, is quoted.

Live Science: What ‘American values’ really means
Vanessa Beasley
, associate professor of communication studies at Vanderbilt University, compares the phrase “American values” to a Rorschach test, in which different people to see different things.

Christian Science Monitor: Opinion: Evangelicals now vote for Catholics. Will they also vote for a Mormon?
Defying a history of anti-Catholicism, evangelical leaders recently endorsed GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, and South Carolina evangelicals voted Newt Gingrich to victory in their primary. Will Mormon Mitt Romney be next to win them over? A recent Vanderbilt study looking at evangelical political attitudes is mentioned.

WPLN: Judicial selection critics wave caution flag on constitutional amendment
Brian Fitzpatrick,
associate professor of law, is interviewed about Governor Haslam’s proposal to make Tennessee’s judicial selection process permanent by writing it into the state constitution.

LiveScience: Romney’s weapon against anti-Mormon bias: Obama
New voter survey results indicate that Mitt Romney does indeed face bias against his religion, Mormonism, from Republicans, and in particular from Southern evangelical Christians. But, the survey also reveals that evangelicals are more biased against President Obama than they are against Mormons. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, was one of three Vanderbilt researchers conducting the study and is quoted.

FoxNews.com: Video: The benefit of negative ads
John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is interviewed about negative political ads. The interview was conducted at VUStar, Vanderbilt’s on-campus broadcast facility.

National Public Radio: Does regionalism matter anymore, y’all?
A Romney victory in the South Carolina or Florida primaries would signal an end to Southern regionalism, political experts said. Larry Bartels, professor of political science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Gingrich win puts TN in play to decide Republican nomination
Tennessee and a handful of other states may tip the balance of the Republican race, which has seen each of its first three contests won by a different candidate. Even if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney can win in Florida, the next race on the Republican calendar, the early contests have raised questions about his standing with Southern, socially conservative and evangelical voters that probably will not be answered until after Tennessee votes in the Super Tuesday contests on March 6. John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Jan. 20

New York Times: The theological differences behind evangelical unease with Romney
As the Republican voting moves South, with primaries in South Carolina on Saturday and in Florida on Jan. 31, the religion of Mitt Romney, the front-runner, may be an inescapable issue in many voters’ minds. In South Carolina, where about 60 percent of Republican voters are evangelical Christians, Mr. Romney, a devout Mormon and a former bishop in the church, faces an electorate that has been exposed over the years to preachers who teach that the Mormon faith is apostasy. Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, is quoted.

Washington Post: Wonkblog: Who will get the ‘recovery presidency?’
The next president, whoever he is, will enjoy a “recovery presidency,” and so too will his party. And that makes the 2012 election really, really important, writes columnist Ezra Klein. Larry Bartels, professor of political science, is quoted.

Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” interviewed John Geer, chair of political science, regarding negative political ads and the South Carolina primary. The live interview was conducted at VUStar, Vanderbilt’s campus broadcast facility.

NBC News Channel and Wall Street Journal Radio interviewed David Lewis, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, regarding President Obama asking Congress to give him greater power to merge agencies and promising he would start by collapsing six major economic departments into one. The interview was conducted at VUStar, Vanderbilt’s campus broadcast facility. Numerous affiliates across the country, including WSMV, Channel 4, aired the report.

Week ending Friday, Jan. 13

Public Radio International: The Takeaway: What’s the future of Guantanamo?
Wednesday marks the tenth anniversary of the United States opening a detention camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The past decade has seen no shortage of controversy about the base, both on legal and moral terms. There are currently 171 prisoners being held there, and no signs of shutting the facility down in the near future. Vijay Padmanabhan, assistant professor of law at the Vanderbilt Law School, discusses the legal and political future of the base.

Nooga.com: DesJarlais reports $436,000 cash-on-hand, faces potential threat from Ketron
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who now finds himself amid a drastically reshaped district that includes Rutherford County, announced Monday he raised a total of $154,127 in the fourth fundraising quarter. The three-month tally was the congressman’s strongest to date and leaves him with $436,823 cash-on-hand for securing his reelection. The announcement came as speculation swirled that state Sen. Bill Ketron would announce his intention to challenge DesJarlais, who has only represented the 4th District for one year. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Jan. 6

National Public Radio: Not everyone is basking in Iowa’s afterglow
Iowa proved a road to victory for Mitt Romney, but it was a road to nowhere for Michele Bachmann, who announced that she was suspending her presidential campaign after a dismal showing in the Iowa caucus. John Geer, chair of political science, is quoted.

Los Angeles Times: Politics Now: ‘Super PACs’ already a winner in 2012
No matter who wins the Iowa caucuses Tuesday night, one newcomer has already emerged victorious: “super PACs” and other new entities that can collect donations of unlimited size from individuals and corporations. Larry Bartels, professor of political science, is quoted.

National Public Radio: It’s All Politics: Iowa voters prepare for a long night, with an eye toward New Hampshire
Junior Colleen Boyle, a Romney supporter observing the Iowa caucus as part of a Vanderbilt “rolling seminar,” is interviewed about Romney’s chances going into the New Hampshire caucus.

Politico: Opinion: Newt’s slide is not about attack ads
It looks like one major story line coming out of Iowa will be the role negative ads played in bringing down former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But the negative ads may not have been a cause of his decline in numbers, but rather a symptom of his many problems as a candidate for president, writes John Geer, chair of political science and expert on political campaigns.

The Tennessean: Fincher: Country ready for action
U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher said on a recent stop in Dickson that the country is “ready for action” and not “political gains or personal attacks.” But Fincher, the subject of a federal ethics investigation, may lose his seat to a redistricting effort in Washington. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Chicago Sun-Times: Ron Paul in Iowa: Political tourists, students fill rally
GOP White House hopeful Ron Paul—poised to win, place or show in the Tuesday Iowa caucus—seemed pleased to find himself facing a packed room in Des Moines on Monday. What he did not know is that almost every one of the 100 or so seats in front of him was filled with folks not from Iowa but political tourists and high school and college students, including 20 from Vanderbilt, here to observe the first-in-the nation vote for president.

The Observer (U.K.): Republicans fear return of the feelgood factor as Iowa caucus nears
A cautious optimism about the economy will undercut the Republicans’ main line of attack in their 2012 bid to reclaim the White House. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

Christian Science Monitor: Why Mitt Romney isn’t balking at strong voter support for Ron Paul
Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are in the top two slots in both Iowa and New Hampshire. But there’s little doubt about who would win in a Romney-Paul matchup. John Geer, chair of political science, is quoted.

Arizona Republic: GOP presidential field faces first test in Iowa
After months of debates, campaign stumbles and revolving front-runners, the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses Tuesday will provide the first test of the candidates’ organizational grit and likely could mean the end of the road for some in the GOP pack. John Geer, chair of political science and expert on political campaigning, is quoted.

Associated Press: Vanderbilt students rolling into Iowa caucuses
Vanderbilt University students will be heading to Iowa for the caucus meetings and will be teaming up to support a favorite candidate or just observe the first voting of the 2012 presidential election.

Week ending Friday, Dec. 30

Salt Lake Tribune: For Mormons, polygamy remains a PR stumbling block
Polygamy still clings to the LDS Church’s image — even though the Utah-based faith abandoned the practice more than a century ago. It was the No. 1 negative quality cited by 28 percent of respondents in a national Salt Lake Tribune poll who were “uncomfortable” with voting for a Mormon for U.S. president. Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, is quoted here and in a related article on IowaWatch.org: Mitt Romney: Man Behind the Politician.

American Prospect: The Monkey Cage: Below the surface, surprising trust in government
Despite having a generally dim view of the federal government overall, many Tennesseans have favorable opinions of many specific agencies, write Larry Bartels and Marc Hetherington, professors of political science at Vanderbilt.

Associated Press: Vandy researcher: Disposable income key to election
With the 2012 presidential election looming, Larry Bartels, professor of political science, says the one key factor is the disposable income of voters. If the real disposable incomes of voters are growing in the six months before Election Day, Bartels predicts, President Barack Obama is likely to win. Disposable incomes include income from wages, investments, tax cuts and government benefits.

Week ending Friday, Dec. 16

Reuters: Veterans to tout Obama’s record as military leader
As the war in Iraq draws to a close, U.S. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has quietly enlisted an army of veterans to urge other military men and women to vote for him in November. Thomas Schwartz, professor of history, is quoted.

Nashville Scene: Opinion: Everything Is broken: My two years at the U.S. Department of State
We need some real business processes, based on bottom-up approaches that place primary import on the ideas of front-line staff. There needs to be a throng of engaged public servants who can lead as well as get dirty and manage in hands-on ways. Lastly, those leaders and their staff need to be held accountable — if they don’t meet clear, measurable standards, they should be replaced with someone who will, writes Brendan O’Connor, a master’s student in Community Development and Action at Peabody and former State Department employee.

Week ending Friday, Dec. 9

El Economista (Mexico): Column: Lo positivo de las campañas negras
Mexico will be holding a presidential election next year, and candidates have begun to engage in what it sees as U.S.-style negative campaigning. In Defense of Negativity, a book examining the positive aspects of the practice by John Geer, chair of political science, is mentioned. (Translate)

FOXNews.com Live: Video: Can the GOP win over Hispanic voters?
Efren Perez
, assistant professor of political science, is interviewed about the Republican Party’s ability to attract Hispanic voters. The interview was conducted at VUStar, Vanderbilt’s on-campus broadcast facility.

Week ending Friday, Dec. 2

The Tennessean: PACs gain super powers
While the combination fundraiser and party is fairly commonplace in the world of presidential politics, this campaign cycle also is seeing a new type of giving and spending. Recent court rulings have allowed corporations to support or oppose specific candidates with their cash. They’ve also permitted the formation of “super PACs,” officially known as “independent expenditure-only committees.” John Geer, chair of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Nov. 25

CNN.com: Opinion: Our untelevised presidents
For generations we have taken it for granted that the way we meet our would-be presidents is on television. But, of course, it was not always so. For a good portion of the existence of the United States, the process of choosing a president must have felt like trying to decipher a distant and indistinct rumor, writes commentator Bob Greene. John Geer, chair of political science, is quoted.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Opinion: The culprits behind today’s polarized politics
If you are looking for someone to blame for the polarized nature of our politics today, here are two nominees: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the political science establishment. Together they set out the argument for the situation we have in Washington—a Republican Party loaded with conservatives, a Democratic Party larded with liberals, and few in between. The result has been gridlock, rancor and a sense of despair if not hopelessness in the capital and across the country, writes columnist David Shribman. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Nov. 18

The Monkey Cage: Vanderbilt Poll: Gingrich and Cain, Romney and Perry
In a race where the field of major not-Romney candidates is often portrayed as an undifferentiated right-wing grab bag, a recent Vanderbilt survey of potential Republican primary voters in Tennessee suggests that rank-and-file Republicans see the landscape quite differently, writes Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science.

U.S. News and World Report: To win, Gingrich needs cash and discipline
In addition to combating conservative criticism for receiving more than $1 million in consulting fees from mortgage giant Freddie Mac over the last decade, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has to overcome logistical and personal hurdles to secure the Republican nomination for president in 2012. John Geer, chair of political science, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Unimpressed Tennessee voters weigh third-party candidate
In a recent poll, Vanderbilt University’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions found that up to 23 percent of Tennesseans would be willing to vote for an independent next year. The poll also found that, despite their dissatisfaction with Obama, only slightly more Tennesseans say they are committed to voting for one of his challengers. John Geer, chair of political science and co-director of the poll, is quoted here and in related stories: Cain leads GOP field in TN, but barely among women, Many Tennesseans favor more taxes on wealthy and Tennesseans remain mostly sour on economy. The poll results are also reported in The Hill: Poll: Cain campaigning pays off in Tennessee.

Week ending Friday, Nov. 11, 2011

The Tennessean: Middle Tennesseans back Rick Perry with their wallets
Texas Gov. Rick Perry trails former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in statewide fundraising, with both Republican candidates outdistancing President Barack Obama, according to a Federal Election Commission analysis, but the Texas governor leads in the Nashville area. John Geer, chair of political science, is quoted. Gov. Perry’s son, Griffin Perry, is an alumnus of Vanderbilt.

Washington Post: The risk of sexual harassment can mean a bigger paycheck
When sexual harassment claims against Republican candidate Herman Cain emerged this past week, his campaign first denied the allegations, then acknowledged a settlement to one woman and, eventually, blamed rival Rick Perry’s camp. One untested tactic: Contend that the allegedly harassed employees at the National Restaurant Association were paid salaries that compensated them for that very risk. Workplace sexual harassment is against the law but still rampant in many industries, but research by Joni Hersch, professor of law and economics, indicates that there is a quantifiable pay bonus for “unwanted sexual attention” at work.

Washington Post: Opinion: Presidential crystal balls
Economists, political scientists and historians have created a minor academic industry out of forecasting election outcomes. They all have different formulas for drawing their conclusions, but many of the predictions give Obama an edge next year no matter who his Republican opponent turns out to be, writes columnist Doyle McManus. McManus quotes an article by Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, that originally appeared on The Monkey Page: Opinion: The president’s fate may hinge on 2009.

Houston Chronicle: ‘No love lost’ between Romney and Perry
These days, Republican presidential rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney don’t even bother to hide their contempt for each other. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

Dallas Morning News: Rick Perry’s son plunges into campaign, spotlight
Once a teenager eager to escape his father’s Texas-size shadow, Vanderbilt alumnus Griffin Perry has embraced the national stage in recent weeks, resigning from a prized banking job to volunteer for Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.

American Prospect: Does money affect election outcomes in U.S. politics? A quick review of the literature
How much does campaign spending actually affect election outcomes in U.S. politics? Andrew Therriault, a post-doctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University and an expert on campaign effects, is interviewed.

The Tennessean: Unclear goals may quell Occupy protests
The Occupy Nashville protesters have been clear in their resolve to remain at the foot of the Tennessee Capitol. But what it will take to persuade them to leave is as uncertain as ever, a fact that both sympathizers of the movement and its detractors say could lead to its undoing. Gary Gerstle, James Stahlman Professor of History, has studied popular movements and is quoted.

The Tennessean: Opinion: State’s curfew meets constitutional standard
The overnight curfew imposed on Legislative Plaza, where Occupy Nashville protesters have been camping out, is not a violation of the First Amendment because demonstrators are allowed to continue their protests during the day, writes law student David Mello.

The Tennessean: Sen. Bob Corker has $6.5 million for campaign
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker raised $1.2 million in campaign money over the last three months, far outpacing his three registered challengers and bringing his balance to more than $6.5 million, according to his most recent campaign finance report. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Nov. 4, 2011

The Economist: A dangerous game
The Republican Party’s newfound radicalism worked in the last election but may become the party’s Achilles heel in 2012. It could enable President Obama to win a second term by proclaiming that to vote Republican is to opt for a reckless experiment that will tear down all the social protections Americans have come to take for granted. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is quoted.

Associated Press: Religion and politics mix goes back to Revolution
At a lecture Thursday at Vanderbilt Divinity School, James Byrd, assistant professor of American religious history, said the American Revolution was fueled by a new rhetorical style that came straight from the revivals of the first Great Awakening.

Grist Magazine: Opinion: He-said, she-punched-him-in-the-face: The imbalance of American party politics
American politics is polarized, yes, but not parallel. The parties are not mirror images of one another. One is a party of multiple, conflicting worldviews and temperaments, the other increasingly homogenous in its authoritarianism. One party struggles for consensus and compromise, the other views politics as warfare, writes staff writer Chris Roberts. Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics, co-authored by Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is cited.

The Tennessean: Middle TN Mormons keep the faith
Local Mormons say Bible Belt culture helps reinforce their way of life. People take God seriously here and see church as a normal part of life. But their beliefs have been under scrutiny because of the rivalry between two leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. Brett Benson, assistant professor of political science, has studied anti-Mormon bias in political campaigns and is quoted.

The Tennessean: Occupy Nashville arrests could backfire
The state’s attempts to rein in the Occupy Nashville protests that have called Legislative Plaza home for three weeks may have served only to fan the flames, observers said Friday. Marc Hetherington, professor of political science, is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Oct. 21, 2011

The Tennessean: New way to pick TN judges proposed
A state senator has proposed an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that aims to strike a balance between concerns that Tennessee’s highest judges are unconstitutionally appointed and fears that the judiciary would be too heavily influenced by money, politics and special interests if there were statewide popular elections for the appellate courts. Brian Fitzpatrick, associate professor of law and expert in judicial selection issues, is quoted.

Salon: Newt’s bad prescription
Asked at last week’s Republican presidential candidates’ debate about the massive amounts of Medicare money spent on patients in the last two years of life, Newt Gingrich said he disagreed with recently announced draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to reduce screening healthy men for prostate cancer and likening the task force to a “death panel.” Larry Churchill, Ann Geddes Stahlman Chair in Medical Ethics, says that a healthcare system paid per procedure rather than per outcome is always going to over-test and over-treat, even when those interventions can be dangerous.

Week ending Friday, Oct. 14, 2011

Reuters: Opinion: Wall Street protesters challenge Reagan Revolution
The greatest significance of the wave of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that started in Lower Manhattan and have rippled across the United States is the potential challenge it poses to the Reagan Revolution, writes columnist Chrystia Freedman. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, comments on the political consequences of rising income inequality in the past 30 years.

MSNBC.com: Old guard back in the trenches at ‘Occupy’ protests
Older activists like Vietnam War veteran William Johnsen — some hobbling along on canes and leg braces — are quickly becoming a presence at Occupy Wall Street protests across the country. And the veterans of the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war protests and anti-nuclear proliferation demonstrations appear to be relishing being back in the struggle, supporting the “kids” and mobilizing other seniors to join in. Older activists also may be drawn to the “Occupy” protests in hopes of achieving what they set out to do in the 1960s, when the “New Left” was born, said Gary Gerstle, James Stahlman Professor of History.

Nooga.com: For Fleischmann, fundraising efforts in full swing
Chattanoogans planning to attend an Oct. 27 fundraiser for Rep. Chuck Fleischmann featuring House Speaker John Boehner should prepare to pony up. To attend the invitation-only event, couples are being asked to contribute a minimum of $1,000 toward Fleischmann’s re-election campaign—a typical amount for a high profile fundraiser. Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science.

RealClearPolitics: Income as re-election indicator: readers find the math fuzzy
Readers responded to a recent post describing research that suggested voters’ incomes in the six months leading up to an election could determine the outcome of the 2012 presidential race. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is quoted in the original article explaining how his research could apply to the 2012 election, based on what political science has learned from studying voters and elections going back to the 1930s. Many readers took issue with Bartels’ formula—either the provocative idea of developing a computational formula at all, or the predictive accuracy of the calculation he described.

Salon: Occupy Wall Street: A historical perspective
Gary Gerstle
, James Stahlman Professor of History, is interviewed about the historical context of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Washington Post: Financial crisis and stimulus: Could this time have been different?
The Obama administration’s recovery plan failed to mitigate the financial crisis because it was too small and did not distribute the burden of recovery across enough of the population, say economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, whose 2008 projections of the economy seem to have been most accurately borne out by reality. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is quoted.

Chattanooga Times-Free Press: Son of former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp runs headlong into criticism
The youthful son of a well-known Tennessee politician declares for public office and runs headlong into criticism about his inexperience and effort to ride the coattails of his famous father. Sound familiar? There’s a good reason why any number of successful Tennessee politicians got their start, at least in part, by being the scions of veteran officeholders, says Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science: name recognition.

Week ending Friday, Oct. 7, 2011

RealClearPolitics: Obama’s chances could turn on one key indicator
What if the incumbent president’s fate hinges on one basic economic question in 2012: Are the incomes of voters growing in the six months before Election Day? Barack Obama is likely to win a second term if real disposable incomes are stable or climbing in the two quarters leading into next year’s election, according to respected political science research. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, is quoted.

Washington Post: Opinion: How Europe could steer the 2012 election
If you’re worried about the 2012 election — or, more quaintly, just worried about the economy — the politician to watch is Germany’s Angela Merkel. What she and a handful of European leaders do over the next few weeks could well decide whether the American economy tips back into recession this year, and thus, quite inadvertently, decide who wins the U.S. presidency in 2012, writes columnist Ezra Klein. Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science, studies the effect of the economy on elections and is quoted.

The Tennessee Report: How to pick judges? Issue remains politically unsettled in TN
Gov. Bill Haslam knows he doesn’t want Tennessee Supreme Court and appeals court judges to be selected by voters. But he’s unwilling to say if he believes an unbiased reading of the Tennessee Constitution backs him up on that. Brian Fitzpatrick, associate professor of law, has studied judicial selection and is quoted.

Week ending Friday, Sept. 30, 2011


Week ending Friday, Sept. 23, 2011

Week ending Friday, Sept. 16, 2011

 

Week ending Friday, September 9, 2011

 

Week ending Friday, September 2, 2011