Conservative Bias in Perceptions of Public Opinion Among American Political Elites

The conservative asymmetry of elite polarization and the right-skewed “democratic deficit”—wherein policy is more conservative than majorities prefer on average—represent significant puzzles. We argue that such breakdowns in aggregate representation can arise because politicians systematically misperceive constituency opinion. We demonstrate this argument in US states, where conservative citizens are more […] Read more »

How the New Health Care Bill Confirms the Asymmetry of the Parties

Matt Grossmann and I write a fair amount about health care in our book Asymmetric Politics because it’s a political issue that represents a particularly effective example of our main thesis: that the Democratic Party is organized as a coalition of social groups while the Republican Party is controlled by […] Read more »

Ordering Vindaloo or Hunting for Venison? How You Vote

… As a political scientist, I’ve been asking people about their experiences with people who are different from them. In 2008, I wrote a series of questions to measure cosmopolitanism. I asked seven questions about travel, sports and food to tap into behaviors that expose people to varying levels of […] Read more »

Results from the Bright Line Watch U.S. Democracy Survey

BLW conducted its first U.S. Democracy Survey from February 13-19, 2017. We invited 9,820 political science faculty at 511 U.S. institutions to participate and received 1,571 responses (a response rate of 16 percent). … The survey had two broad goals. The first was to learn what qualities our respondents regard […] Read more »

More (on) Polarization

… Many studies have documented the widening gap between partisans of the two parties. The blatant contempt that Republicans and Democrats express towards each other in surveys has escalated in the last 20 years. … A 2015 study found that party prejudice is stronger than racial prejudice. Republican and Democratic […] Read more »

Congressional critics do check presidential power — by leading public opinion

Abraham Lincoln said that “public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” But in a polarized polity, can public opinion ever check presidential power? Our research suggests that it can. But Congress has an important role in jump-starting this popular constraint. CONT. Douglas […] Read more »