Part of the Democracy Group Network. You can subscribe to The Science of Politics on iTunes here.
The Science of Politics features up-and-coming researchers delivering fresh insights on the big trends driving American politics and policy today. In 30 minutes, you’ll get beyond punditry to data-driven understanding.
Each episode goes in-depth on one hot topic in the news with two researchers who have just published relevant empirical studies. Hear about their new discoveries and get the broader context that’s lost in the daily news shuffle.
Topics covered include the influence of cable news, the gender gap in voting, and why our national discussion of climate change is so polarized. Grossmann and guests explain what we do and don’t know and why it matters as they knock down common myths and make cutting-edge research accessible to political professionals.
The Science of Politics is hosted by political scientist Matt Grossmann of Michigan State University and provided by the Niskanen Center, a Washington think tank dedicated to improving policy and advancing liberty.
The podcast is available for a free subscription on iTunes and Soundcloud and on this site. We list each episode below with links to the studies discussed and the researchers interviewed. Our podcast is also a member of the Democracy Group, a network of podcasts exploring important conversations around politics and civic engagement. Check out the Democracy Group and other member shows here.
Episode 1: How Fox News Channel Spreads its Message and Persuades Viewers
Studies: Bias in Cable News and No Need to Watch
Interviews: Gregory Martin, Emory University and Audrey McClain, Temple University
Episode 2: Why Republican Women Don’t Run for Office and Why It Matters for the Gender Gap in Voting
Studies: Which Women Can Run? and Who is Responsible for the Gender Gap?
Interviews: Heather Ondercin, Wooster College and Danielle Thomsen, Syracuse University
Episode 3: Polarized Opinion on Climate Change and Messages that Move Conservatives
Studies: Climate Change: U.S. Public Opinion and Improving Climate Change Acceptance among U.S. Conservatives
Interviews: Megan Mullin, Duke University and Graham Dixon, Ohio State University
Episode 4: How the House Freedom Caucus Gains Power in Congress
Studies: Building the Bloc and Who are President Trump’s Allies?
Interviews: Ruth Bloch Rubin, University of Chicago and Andrew Clarke, Lafayette College
Episode 5: How Gun Politics and Gun Policy Polarize America
Studies: Planting in Fertile Soil and Emerging Political Identities?
Interviews: Jay Barth, Hendrix College and Mark Joslyn, University of Kansas
Episode 6: Multi-Racial Electoral Coalitions for Minority Candidates
Studies: “Racial Change, Racial Threat, and Minority Representation in Cities” and “Racial Coalition Building in Local Elections“
Interviews: Paru Shah, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Andrea Benjamin, University of Missouri
Episode 7: Rules Around the Senate Filibuster
Studies: “Exceptions to the Rule: The Politics of Filibuster Limitations in the U.S. Senate” and “On Parliamentary War: Partisan Conflict and Procedural Change in the U.S. Senate“
Interviews: Molly Reynolds, Brookings Institution and James Wallner, R Street Institute
Episode 8: Does the Tax Law Signal Change in How Parties use Tax Credits and Deductions?
Studies: “The distributive politics of tax expenditures” and “American Exceptionalism Revisited“
Interviews: Christopher Faricy, Syracuse University and Joshua McCabe, Endicott College
Episode 9: Congressional Primaries: How the Parties Fight Insurgents
Studies: “The Party’s Primary” and “Congressional Primary Elections“
Interviews: Hans Hassell, Cornell College and Robert Boatright, Clark University
Episode 10: The Resistance: Who is Protesting Trump and Are They Changing Public Views?
Studies: “American Resistance” and “A Change of Heart“
Interviews: Dana Fisher, University of Maryland and Nazita Lajevardi, Michigan State University
Episode 11: Do Americans Implicitly Trust Government, Despite our Public Anger?
Studies: “Anger and Declining Trust in Government in the American Electorate” and “My Trust in Government is Implicit“
Interviews: Steven Webster, Emory University and Stephen Nicholson, University of California-Merced
Episode 12: Are Americans Becoming Tribal, with Identity Politics Trumping All?
Studies: “One Tribe to Bind Them All” and “Affective Polarization or Partisan Disdain?“
Interviews: Liliana Mason, University of Maryland and John Barry Ryan, Stony Brook University
Episode 13: Are Red and Blue States Making Red and Blue Policies?
Studies: “Policy Preferences and Policy Change” and “Lawmaking in American Legislatures“
Interviews: Christopher Warshaw, George Washington University and Mark Richardson, James Madison University
Episode 14: Racial Stereotypes in Voting for Obama and Trump
Studies: “The Racial Double Standard” and “Negative Black Stereotypes, Support for Excessive Use of Force by Police, and Voter Preference for Donald Trump During the 2016 Presidential Primary Election Cycle.”
Interviews: Darren Davis, University of Notre Dame and Randall Swain, Eastern Kentucky University
Episode 15: How Debt Finance Leads to War and Defense Spending
Studies: “Borrowing Support for War” and “Guns, Butter, and Debt“
Interviews: Sarah Kreps, Cornell University and Matthew DiGiuseppe, University of Mississippi
Episode 16: Anti-Immigration Politics: Is California’s Past the Republicans’ Future?
Studies: “Reexamining the Effect of Racial Propositions on Latinos’ Partisanship in California” and “Creating a Racially Polarized Electorate.”
Interviews: Iris Hui, Stanford University and Joshua Zingher, Old Dominion University
Episode 17: Labor Union Influence on Inequality and Legacy Costs
Studies: “Organized Labor’s Check on Rising Economic Inequality in the U.S. States” and “Unions, Parties, and the Politics of State Government Legacy Cost”
Interviews: Laura Bucci, Saint Joseph’s University; Daniel DiSalvo, City College
Episode 18: When Liberals and Conservatives Use Genetics to Explain Human Differences
Studies: “Genetic Attributions: Sign of Intolerance or Acceptance?” and “Discord Over DNA: Ideological Responses to Scientific Communication about Genes and Race.”
Interviews: Stephen Schneider, University of Nebraska and Elizabeth Suhay, American University
Episode 19: Who’s More Afraid of Democracy: the Center or the Right?
Studies: “Follow the Leader” and “The Centrist Paradox”
Interviews: Lee Drutman, New America and David Adler, Renewing the Centre
Episode 20: Did Facebook Really Polarize and Misinform the 2016 Electorate?
Studies: “Facebook News and (de)Polarization” and “The Stealth Media?”
Interviews: Michael Beam, Kent State University and Young Mie Kim, University of Wisconsin
Episode 21: Does Nationalized Media Mean the Death of Local Politics?
Studies: The Increasingly United States and “Battleground States and Local Coverage of American Presidential Campaigns.”
Interviews: Daniel Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania; Kerri Milita, Illinois State University
Episode 22: How the Federalist Society Changed the Supreme Court Vetting Process
Studies: “Ideas with Consequences” and “Neil Gorsuch and the Ginsburg Rules“
Interviews: Amanda Hollis-Brusky, Pomona College and Paul Collins, Jr., University of Massachusetts
Episode 23: How Campaign Money Changes Elections, Before and After Citizens United
Studies: “Dark Parties” and “Are Federal PACs obsolete?”
Interviews: Anne Baker, Santa Clara University and Stan Oklobdzija, University of California, San Diego
Episode 24: How Citizens Match their Issue Positions to Candidates and Causes
Studies: “Roadmaps to Representation” and “Saying Versus Doing”
Interviews: Cheryl Boudreau, University of California, Davis and Nicholas Hass, New York University.
Episode 25: How the Tea Party Paved the Way for Donald Trump
Studies: Reactionary Republicanism and Party Takeover
Interviews: Bryan Gervais, University of Texas at San Antonio; Rachel Blum, Miami University of Ohio
Episode 26: How Marriage & Inequality Reinforce Partisan Polarization
Studies: “The Home as a Political Fortress” and “Inequality and Public Polarization”
Interviews: John Kuk, Washington University and Tobias Konizter of PredictWise
Episode 27: Are the Democratic or Republican Parties Becoming More Similar or Different?
Study: Asymmetric Politicsand Red Fighting Blue
Interviews: David Hopkins, Boston College
Episode 28: How to Change Americans’ Views of Inequality: Teaching and TV
Studies: When Do the Advantaged See the Disadvantages of Others?” and “Entertaining Beliefs in Economic Mobility“
Interviews: Cecilia Mo, University of California, Berkeley; Eunji Kim, University of Pennsylvania
Episode 29: How Americans’ Politics Changes Their Religion
Studies: “From Politics to the Pews” and “Putting Politics First“
Interviews: Michele Margolis, University of Pennsylvania and David Campbell, University of Notre Dame
Episode 30: Interpreting the 2018 Election
Studies: “Delivering the People’s Message” and “The Unprecedented 2016 Presidential Election“
Interviews: Julia Azari, Marquette University and Rachel Bitecofer, Christopher Newport University
Episode 31: Does Anyone Speak for the Poor in Congress?
Studies: “Poor Representation” and “Putting Inequality in Context“
Interviews: Kris Miler, University of Maryland; Christopher Ellis, Bucknell University
Episode 32: How Public Policy Intentionally Segregated American Homeowners
Studies: “Segregation by Design” and “At the Boundaries of Homeownership
Interviews: Jessica Trounstine, University of California, Merced; Chloe Thurston, Northwestern University
Episode 33: Are Divided Governments the Cause of Delays and Shutdowns?
Studies: “Is Divided Government a Cause of Legislative Delay?” and “Divided Government and Significant Legislation: A History of Congress from 1789 to 2010.”
Interviews: Patricia Kirkland of Princeton University; Benjamin Schneer, Harvard University.
Episode 34: Did Chinese Trade Competition Increase Nativism and Elect Trump?
Studies: “Why Does Import Competition Favor Republicans?” and “What You See Out Your Back Door”
Interviews: Francesco Ruggieri, University of Chicago; James Bisbee, New York University
Episode 35: Does Diversity in Congress Translate into Representation?
Studies: “Lawmaker Age, Issue Salience, and Senior Representation in Congress” and “Descriptive and Substantive Representation in Congress“
Interviews: Kenneth Lowande, University of Michigan and James Curry, University of Utah
Episode 36: How Online Media Polarizes and Encourages Voters
Studies: Frenemies: How Social Media Polarizes America and “Mobilizing Millennial Voters with Targeted Internet Advertisements.”
Interviews: Jamie Settle, William and Mary; Katherine Haenschen, Virginia Tech
Episode 37: Why Governments Give Away Economic Incentives That Increase Inequality
Studies: “Incentives to Pander: How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain” and “Income Inequality and Economic Development Incentives in US States.”
Interviews: Nathan Jensen, University of Texas and Niskanen Center; Cynthia Rogers, University of Oklahoma
Episode 38: How Philanthropy Diverts Social Movements
Studies: “The Price of Civil Rights” and “The Self-Help Myth“
Interviews: Megan Ming Francis, University of Washington; Erica Kohl-Arenas, University of California, Davis
Episode 39: Is White Identity Causing a Backlash Against Immigration?
Studies: “White Identity Politics” and “Whiteshift“
Interviews: Ashley Jardina, Duke University; Eric Kaufman, Birkbeck College
Episode 40: Higher Education – An Engine of Social Mobility or a Driver of Inequality?
Studies: “Citizens by Degree” and “Unequal Higher Education”
Interviews: Deondra Rose, Duke University; Brendan Cantwell, Michigan State University
Episode 41: When and Where Can Climate Policy Succeed?
Studies: “Can We Price Carbon?” and “Politics in the U.S. Energy Transition”
Interviews: Barry Rabe, University of Michigan; Leah Stokes, UC Santa Barbara
Episode 42: How Not-In-My-Backyard Politics Keeps Housing Costs High
Studies: “Who Participates in Local Government?” and “Why Do Renters Behave Like Homeowners?“
Interviews: Katherine Einstein, Boston University; Michael Hankinson, Baruch College
Episode 43: How Obamacare and Medicaid Drive Voting
Studies: “Fragmented Democracy” and “Obamacare Implementation and the 2016 Election”
Interviews: Jamila Michener, Cornell University; Vlad Kogan, Ohio State University
Episode 44: If Moderates Are Electable, Why Are Ideologues Winning?
Studies: “Who Wants to Run” and “Man Bites Blue Dog“
Interviews: Andrew Hall, Stanford University; Stephen Utych, Boise State University
Episode 45: Do the Parties Prefer White Male Candidates?
Studies: “The Party’s Primary Preferences” and “You Had Better Mention All of Them”
Interviews: Neil Visalvanich, Durham University; Seth Masket, University of Denver
Episode 46: Can Diversity and Liberalism Rise Together?
Studies: “America’s White Saviors” and “People Like Us?”
Interviews: Emily Wager, University of North Carolina; Zach Goldberg, Georgia State University
Episode 49: How Presidential Debates Influence Voters
Studies: “Presidential Debates in the Age of Partisan Media” and “Please Clap”
Interviews: Ethan Porter, George Washington University; Patrick Stewart, University of Arkansas
Episode 50: Why Americans Dislike Government, Even When It Works
Studies: Good Enough for Government Work and The Government-Citizen Disconnect
Interviews: Amy Lerman, University of California, Berkeley; Suzanne Mettler, Cornell University
Episode 51: The American Public’s Growing Ideological Sophistication
Studies: “The Changing Nature of Mass Belief Systems” and “Issue Alignment and Partisanship in the American Public.”
Interviews: Martin Wattenberg, University of California, Irvine; Austin Kozlowski, University of Chicago
Episode 52: Have Conservatives Transformed the States?
Studies: “Red State Blues: How the Conservative Revolution Stalled in the States”; “State Capture: How Conservative Activists, Big Businesses, and Wealthy Donors Reshaped the American States — and the Nation”
Interview: Alex Hertel-Fernandez, Columbia University
Episode 53: How Bureaucrats Make Good Policy
Studies: “Bending the Rules,” and “Diverse Lobbying Coalitions and Influence in Notice-and-Comment Rulemaking.”
Interviews: Rachel Augustine Potter, University of Virginia; Maraam Dwidar, University of Texas
Episode 54: How Trump Politicized Refugees
Studies: “Let Me Be a Refugee” and “The Strategic Case for Refugee Resettlement”
Interviews: Rebecca Hamlin, University of Massachusetts and Idean Salehyan, University of North Texas
Episode 56: Do Early Primary States Still Pick Presidents
Studies: Identity Crisis; “Knockout Blows or the Status Quo?”
Interviews: John Sides, Vanderbilt University; Marc Trussler, Washington University
Episode 57: Do Democrats and Republicans Get Different Results?
Studies: “Noisy Retrospection” and “From Backwaters to Major Policymakers“
John Holbein, University of Virginia; Jacob Grumbach, University of Washington
Episode 58: Will Trump Anger Motivate Black Turnout?
Studies: The Anger Gap; “Between Anger and Engagement”
Interviews: Davin Phoenix, UC Irvine; Christopher Towler, Cal State – Sacramento
Episode 60: Did Americans’ Racial Attitudes Elect Trump?
Studies: “Who Put Trump in the White House?” and Identity Crisis
Interviews: Justin Grimmer and Will Marble, Stanford University; John Sides, Vanderbilt University; Lynn Vavreck, UCLA
Episode 61: Can America Become a Multiparty System?
Studies: “Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop” and “Maine Ranked-choice Voting as a Case of Electoral System Change”
Interviews: Lee Drutman, New America; Jack Santucci, Drexel University
Episode 62: How to Build Institutions, Not Political Hobbies
Studies: Politics is for Power and A Time to Build
Interviews: Eitan Hersh, Tufts University; Yuval Levin, American Enterprise Institute
Episode 63: How Record Television Advertising Is Shaping American Elections
Studies: “The Blue Wave” and “Political Advertising in the United States“
Interviews: Erika Franklin Fowler, Wesleyan University; Michael Franz of Bowdoin College
Episode 64: How News and Social Media Shape American Voters
Studies: Words That Matter and Network Propaganda.
Interviews: Hal Roberts, Harvard University, and Jonathan Ladd, Georgetown University
Episode 65: How Anxiety and Crises Change Our Political Behavior
Studies: Anxious Politics
Interviews: Bethany Albertson, University of Texas; Shana Gadarian, Syracuse University
Episode 66: Why Are Black Conservatives Still Democrats?
Studies: Steadfast Democrats; Conservative but Not Republican
Interviews: Ismail White, Duke University; Chryl Laird, Bowdoin College; Tasha Philpot, University of Texas
Episode 67: Republicans Successfully Politicized Ebola. Can They Do It Again in 2020?
Studies: “Ebola, Elections, and Immigration”; “The Virus of Fear”
Interviews: Claire Adida, UC San Diego; Filipe Campante, Johns Hopkins
Episode 68: What Became of Never Trump Republicans
Studies: “Never Trump“; “Adversaries of Allies?”
Interviews: Steven Teles, Johns Hopkins; Robert Saldin, University of Montana; Karyn Amira and Jordan Ragusa, College of Charleston
Episode 69: How Much Do Vice Presidential Running Mates Matter?
Studies: “Do Running Mates Matter?” and “The Party Decides (Who the Vice President Will Be)“
Interviews: Christopher Devine, University of Dayton; William Adler, Northeastern Illinois University
Episode 70: How Protests Change Parties and Elections
Studies: The Loud Minority; “The Science of Contemporary Street Protests.” Interviews: Daniel Gillion, University of Pennsylvania; Michael Heaney, University of Glasgow and the University of Michigan
Episode 71: How Republicans Lost 2018 by Being Too Close to Trump
Studies: “The Electoral Consequences of Roll Call Voting: Health Care and the 2018 Election” and “Be Careful What You Wish For: The Impacts of President Trump’s Midterm Endorsements.”
Interviews: Sarah Treul, University of North Carolina; Andrew Ballard, American University
Episode 72: How Overpoliced Communities Become Politically Engaged
Studies: The Portals Project; Mobilized by Injustice
Interviews: Vesla Weaver, Johns Hopkins University; Hannah Walker, University of Texas
Episode 73: How the Supreme Court Shapes (and Is Shaped) By Its Public Support
Studies: “Ideology and Public Support for the Supreme Court,” and “The Stability of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Legitimacy.”
Interviews: Alison Higgins Merrill, Susquehanna University; Michael Nelson, Penn State University
Episode 74: How Donor Opinion Distorts American Democracy
Studies: “What Do Partisan Donors Want?” and “Donors, Primary Elections, and Polarization in the United States”
Interviews: Neil Malhotra, Stanford University; Jordan Kujala, UC Davis
Episode 75: The Roots of the Parties’ Racial Switch
Studies: The Great Migration and the Democratic Party; Republican Party Politics & the American South, 1865-1968
Interviews: Keneshia Grant, Howard University; Boris Heersink, Fordham University
Episode 76: How the Plutocrats Win from the Populist Right
Study: Let Them Eat Tweets
Interviews: Jacob Hacker, Yale University; Paul Pierson, University of California, Berkeley
Episode 77: How Rich White Residents and Interest Groups Rule Local Politics
Studies: Hometown Inequality; Local Interests
Interviews: Jesse Rhodes, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Sarah Anzia, University of California, Berkeley
Episode 78: Racial Protest, Violence, and Backlash
Studies: “Agenda Seeding” and “On the Dynamics of Ideological Identification“
Interviews: Omar Wasow, Princeton University; Elizabeth Coggins, Colorado College
Episode 79: Why Do Americans Accept Democratic Backsliding?
Studies: “Democracy in America?” and “Ethnic Antagonism Erodes Republicans’ Commitment to Democracy.”
Interviews: Larry Bartels, Vanderbilt University; Matt Graham, Yale University
Episode 80: How Court Nominations Polarize Interest Groups
Studies: “From Textbook Pluralism to Modern Hyper-Pluralism.” “The Supreme Court as an Electoral Issue.”
Interviews: Jonathan Kastellec, Princeton University; Alex Badas, University of Houston
Episode 81: Interpreting the Early Results of the 2020 Election
Interviews: G. Elliott Morris, The Economist
Episode 82: Compromise Still Works in Congress and With Voters
Studies: “The Limits of Party” and “Compromise in an Age of Party Polarization”
Interviews: Frances Lee, Princeton University; Jennifer Wolak, University of Colorado
Episode 83: Why Latinos Moved Toward Trump (and Why Most Are Still Democrats)
Studies: “Latinos and the 2016 Election” and “The Influence of Country of Origin in the Process of Party Identification Acquisition.”
Interviews: Gabriel Sanchez, University of New Mexico; Giovanni Castro, Pennsylvania State University
Episode 84: How Presidential Appointments Reveal Policy Goals and Elite Interests
Studies: Vacancy Politics; “The Persistence of the Power Elite”
Interviews: Christina Kinane, Yale University; Timothy Gill, University of Tennessee
Episode 85: How Much Did Trump Undermine U.S. Democracy?
Studies: Bright Line Watch
Interviews: Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth
Episode 87: Right-Wing Extremism and the Capitol Insurrection
Studies: Oath Keepers; The Alt-Right: What Everyone Needs to Know
Interviews: Sam Jackson, University at Albany; George Hawley, University of Alabama
Episode 89: How Political Values and Social Influence Drive Polarization
Studies: “Values and Political Predispositions in the Age of Polarization” and “The Social Dimension of Political Values.”
Interviews: Robert Lupton, University of Connecticut; Elizabeth Chase Connors, University of South Carolina
Episode 90: How Media Coverage of Congress Limits Policymaking
Studies: Combative Politics; The Politics of Herding Cats
Interviews: Mary Layton Atkinson, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; John Lovett, Wake Forest University
Episode 91: Values and Racism in American Immigration Views
Studies: Ignored Racism; Immigration and the American Ethos
Interviews: Mark Ramirez, Arizona State University; Matthew Wright, University of British Columbia
Episode 93: Conspiracy Beliefs Are Neither Increasing Nor Exclusive to the Right
Studies: “American Politics in Two Dimensions” and “Why Do People Believe COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories?”
Interviews: Joseph Uscinski, University of Miami; Adam Enders, University of Louisville
Episode 94: How Voters Judge Congress
Studies: “Congressional Approval and Responsible Party Government” and “Incongruent Voting or Symbolic Representation?”
Interviews: Carlos Algara, University of Texas at El Paso; Adam Cayton, University of West Florida
Episode 95: Is Demographic and Geographic Polarization Overstated?
Studies: The Divided (But Not More Predictable) Electorate, Demography, Politics, and Partisan Polarization in the United States, 1828-2016
Interviews: Seo-young Silvia Kim, American University; David Darmofal, University of South Carolina
Episode 96: Can TV News Keep Politics Local?
Studies: Local News, Information, and the Nationalization of U.S. Elections, and Local News and National Politics
Interviews: Daniel Moskowitz, University of Chicago; Joshua McCrain, University of Utah
Episode 97: Do Congressional Committees Still Make Policy?
Studies: Committees and the Decline of Lawmaking in Congress, and Congressional Bargaining and the Distribution of Grants
Interviews: Jonathan Lewallen, University of Tampa; Leah Rosenstiel, Princeton University
Episode 98: Reducing Polarization with Shared Values
Studies: Who Do You Loath? and Navigating the Progressive Paradox
Interviews: Jon Kingzette, Ohio State University; Jan Voelkel, Stanford University
Episode 99: Why Rising Inequality Doesn’t Stimulate Political Action
Studies: America’s Inequality Trap and The Economic Other
Interviews: Nathan Kelly, University of Tennessee; Meghan Condon, Loyola University Chicago
Episode 100: The Role of Political Science in American Life
Studies: Why We’re Polarized
Interviews: Ezra Klein, New York Times
Episode 101: The Growing Influence of the Non-Religious
Studies: The Nones; Secular Surge
Interviews: Ryan Burge, Eastern Illinois University; John C. Green, University of Akron
Episode 103: How the Media Economy Drives Local News
Study: News for the Rich, White, and Blue and “Writer Movements Between News Outlets Reflect Political Polarization in Media”
Interviews: Nikki Usher, University of Illinois; Nick Hagar, Northwestern University
Episode 104: How the Left and Right Undermine Trust in Government
Studies: American Liberalism; At War With Government: How Conservatives Weaponized Distrust from Goldwater to Trump
Interviews: Paul Sabin, Yale University; Amy Fried, University of Maine
Episode 105: The Future of the Biden Agenda in Congress
Interviews: Matt Glassman, The Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University