74 episodes

The Niskanen Center’s The Science of Politics podcast features up-and-coming researchers delivering fresh insights on the big trends driving American politics today. Get beyond punditry to data-driven understanding of today’s Washington with host and political scientist Matt Grossmann. Each 30-45-minute episode covers two new cutting-edge studies and interviews two researchers.

The Science of Politics Niskanen Center

    • News
    • 4.5, 37 Ratings

The Niskanen Center’s The Science of Politics podcast features up-and-coming researchers delivering fresh insights on the big trends driving American politics today. Get beyond punditry to data-driven understanding of today’s Washington with host and political scientist Matt Grossmann. Each 30-45-minute episode covers two new cutting-edge studies and interviews two researchers.

    How Donor Opinion Distorts American Parties

    How Donor Opinion Distorts American Parties

    Billions of dollars in donations will flow to candidates this year. Citizens suspect all that money buys the donors' influence. But just how different are donors’ views in each party from those of citizens? Neil Malhotra finds that Republican donors are more conservative than Republican citizens on economic issues but Democratic donors are more liberal on social issues. Both parties’ donors are more pro-globalization than their voters. So which do the candidates follow: the donors or the voters? Jordan Kujala finds that donors make candidates more inconsistent with their electorates and increase polarization in both parties.

    Photo: Michael Vadon / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

    • 41 min
    How the Supreme Court Shapes (and is Shaped by) its Public Support

    How the Supreme Court Shapes (and is Shaped by) its Public Support

    The Supreme Court finished its term with a flood of momentous decisions, tacking to the center with Chief Justice John Roberts crafting most of the majorities and the Court agreeing with public opinion nearly all of the time. Is the Court worried about its public non-partisan stature? And does it need to be? Alison Higgins Merrill finds that support for the Supreme Court is high but declining, partially in response to ideological trends. Michael Nelson finds that public support for the Supreme Court is relatively stable and most people’s negative reactions to decisions don’t last. They both discuss what we can learn from Roberts and the Court this term.

    • 40 min
    How Overpoliced Communities Become Politically Engaged

    How Overpoliced Communities Become Politically Engaged

    Protests over police brutality have gripped the nation. But how do racial minorities in highly policed communities think about political action and mobilize to fight unfairness, when they are facing force and indignities that often lead to withdrawal? Vesla Weaver finds complicated but negative attitudes toward police. Overpolicied communities are often motivated for change, though not always traditional politics. Hannah Walker finds that criminal justice experience can mobilize people if they perceive external unfairness, including in the immigration enforcement system and overpolicing.

    • 52 min
    How Republicans Lost 2018 by Being Too Close to Trump

    How Republicans Lost 2018 by Being Too Close to Trump

    Republicans lost control of the House in 2018 and now could lose the Senate this year. Their fortunes seem tied to Trump and his agenda, but new research suggests they would be better off trying to distinguish themselves from him and his policies. Sarah Treul finds that votes to repeal Obamacare cost Republicans seats in Congress in 2018. They did not listen to their constituents at Town Hall meetings and the repeal effort resulted in lower vote share. Andrew Ballard finds that Trump endorsed a lot of Members of Congress in 2018 but it actually hurt those endorsees, stimulating the opposition more than the supporters.

    • 45 min
    How Protests Change Parties and Elections

    How Protests Change Parties and Elections

    Protests are heating up over police brutality in the middle of a presidential election year. Can protests change election outcomes or the future of the parties? New research suggests that protests do leave their mark--and the Trump protest era has been quite active. Daniel Gillion finds that liberal protests help Democrats win elections, stimulating new campaign contributions, public support, and candidacies, and increasing their vote share. Michael Heaney finds that protests respond to the party of the president and can help the party out of power organize and voice its concerns. They both say we should not underestimate the power of street protests, even for conventional political outcomes.

    • 36 min
    How Much Do Vice Presidential Running Mates Matter?

    How Much Do Vice Presidential Running Mates Matter?

    Joe Biden is about to select his vice-presidential running mate, having pledged to choose a woman. Will the pick change his chance of victory or the future of the Democratic Party? New research suggests running mates may not have the direct influence that most expect—but they do send strong signals about presidential candidates and their parties. Christopher Devine and Kyle Kopko find that vice presidential nominees do not have home state or regional effects and do not seem to help attract affiliated social groups like women. But popular running mates can rub off on nominees’ popularity and change how the voters see them ideologically. William Adler and Julia Azari find that running mates are a party decision; parties try to balance their ideological coalitions, with a variety of inputs from public and elite co-partisans. Biden's pick will help define the candidate and his party.

    Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore under CC by SA 2.0.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/8571338180

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
37 Ratings

37 Ratings

Consdemo ,

Turn up the volume

A very imformstive podcast but the volume is often too low for me to hear if there is any noise around me.

Ari Billy Bob Johnson ,

Please fix levels!

It’s great, but can you please balance your audio levels better. The guests that you have on for phone interviews are always so muffled and hard to hear.

Aeristie ,

Balanced perspectives.

Political scientist Matt Grossmann interviews two experts about their latest research on hot button issues in the news. Research often comes from opposing perspectives, leading to balanced analysis of complicated issues. The short, biweekly episodes are great for anyone but seem geared towards academics or others interested in political science.

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