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 47: Explaining the Urban-Rural Divide 
Studies: “Why Cities Lose” and “The Density Divide”
Interviews: Jonathan Rodden, Stanford University; Will Wilkinson, Niskanen Center

Episode 48: Will a Good Economy Save Trump?
Studies: “It’s No Longer the Economy Stupid” and “In the Red”
Interviews: Sean Freeder, University of California, Berkeley; Robert Griffin, Voter Study Group

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 59: A Century of Votes for Women
Studies: A Century of Votes for Women
Interviews: Christina Wolbrecht, University of Notre Dame; J. Kevin Corder, Western Michigan University

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 68: What Became of Never Trump Republicans
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 69: How Much Do Vice Presidential Running Mates Matter?
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 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 ProjectMobilized 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 PartyRepublican 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 InequalityLocal 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