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.
Do Congressional Committees Still Make Policy?
Congressional action now seems to be mostly about building partisan floor majorities, with committees doing more grandstanding and less legislating. But there is still a lot of action in committees, especially in distributing goods to states and districts. Jonathan Lewallen finds that congressional committees are holding fewer legislative hearings over time, due to centralized lawmaking powers. But Leah Rosenstiel finds that committee members still change policy to benefit their states. They both say committees and constituencies still matter, even in our hyperpartisan age.
Can TV News Keep Politics Local?
Most of the politics voters see are national and presidential. Local television news can help Americans learn about state and local politics, but it is threatened by nationalization. Daniel Moskowitz finds that local TV news helps citizens learn more about their governors and senators, encouraging split-ticket voting. But Joshua McCrain finds that Sinclair broadcasting group has bought up local stations, increasing coverage of national politics and moving rightward. Local news coverage is in decline but offers one of the major remaining bulwarks against nationalization and polarization.
Is Demographic and Geographic Polarization Overstated?
Is Demographic and Geographic Polarization Overstated? by Niskanen Center
How Voters Judge Congress
Americans love to hate Congress and legislators often seem to ignore public views. But it turns out constituents do judge their representatives on the policies they develop and pass. Carlos Algara finds that public approval of congress is responsive to the ideological views of the majority party, making it risky to stray too far from voters. And legislators in both parties react to voter opinions, but in distinct ways. Adam Cayton finds that Republican voters judge their legislators more on their symbolic ideology whereas Democrats judge their members based on issue positions. Legislators in each party behave accordingly, responding to their constituents' ideologies or policy views.
Conspiracy Beliefs are Not Increasing or Exclusive to the Right
Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory were implicated in the January 6th storming of the Capitol. Former supporters have even been elected to Congress. Is conspiracy thinking on the rise? Has it taken over the Republican Party? Joseph Uscinski finds little evidence that conspiracy theory beliefs are rising due to Trump or the pandemic. Instead, Trump mobilized the long conspiracy-minded. Adam Enders finds that we are prone to noticing conspiracy theories on the political right, but conspiracy beliefs do not align with the political right or left. They are part of a separate anti-institutional dimension of public opinion. New conspiracies echo those of the past, drawing the same types of Americans.
The Resilience of the Filibuster and its Myths
Democrats have full control of government but the Senate filibuster is blocking large agenda items. How likely is reform and what would it look like? What does the filibuster's resilience say about the role of partisanship in policymaking? Sarah Binder of George Washington University and the Brookings Institution has long been tracking the filibuster and attempts at reform. She sets the record straight on a special conversational edition.
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.
A Podcast on Political Science for the Political Scientist
They do an incredible job bringing cutting-edge political science research to relevant topics based on current events. Many of the guests are relative unknowns, so the listener learns about ideas and perspectives they will rarely find anywhere else.
Who you poll
I don’t know who you are polling but I can tell you in my lifetime I have not engaged so much in daily life with so many people that are into a conspiracy like Q. Once more I am seeing it preached from the pulpit and corrupting the public trust in both church and state. Also something I’ve not seen before, the marketing of it is now with signs on bridges and highways in my local community. So your polling is missing something and quite frankly it is very dangerous to public servants. Furthermore, failure to address this is a national security threat because our foreign enemies are leveraging it. But hey my eyes and ears may not be as calibrated as your polls. I am here on the ground in the buckle of the Bible Belt and Q is pretty prevalent. In my opinion, it stems from the general lack of civic education here.