OTHER RESEARCH

 

Click here for my full curriculum vitae. My scholarly journal articles are below:

Immigration Status, Immigrant Family Ties, and Support for the Democratic Party

2019, Social Science Quarterly (forthcoming)

Objective

I test the hypothesis that immigration status itself is a predictor of Democratic Party affiliation and vote choice, even controlling for other attributes. I further test whether having immigrant parents and grandparents has a similar effect.

Method

To examine these questions, I created single‐ and multilevel models of party affiliation and vote choice using the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study.

Results

Even after controlling for a myriad of individual and contextual attributes, immigration status was a statistically significant and substantively important predictor of Democratic affiliation. This was also true of the children and grandchildren of immigrants, but this effect weakened over multiple generations.

Conclusion

Immigration status itself appears to be an important determinant of voting patterns, which is highly consequential, given the large and growing foreign‐born population in the United States.

Determinants of the Opinion Gap between the Elites and the Public in the United States

2019, Social Science Journal (forthcoming), co-authored with Hong Min Park

Recent scholarship indicates that elites possess disproportionate power in the policy-making process in the United States. The degree to which elite preferences trump the preferences of non-elite Americans raises questions about American democracy, and even indicates the nation exhibits oligarchic tendencies. This paper seeks to further our understanding of when or how elite preferences differ from those of the general public. We utilize the unique survey data that ask identical questions both to the elites and to the general public, and present a quantitative model in which the opinion gap between elites and non-elites is the dependent variable. Our results indicate that elites are particularly likely to diverge from the rest of the population on issues related to economic and domestic policy. The preference gap is typically smaller on issues related to international affairs.

Competing Liberal Values: The Effects of VRA Sec. 2 Litigation on Electoral Competitiveness

2017, Law Journal for Social Justice 7(Spring), co-authored with Mathew Manweller and Kristen Hawley

The United States recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This legislation was one of the most important victories of the Civil Rights Movement, and has been rightly credited as an important milestone on the path to racial equality in the American political system. That said, certain elements of the Voting Rights Act, notably Section 2, may clash with other values we hold in high esteem: specifically, political competition. Although the Court has not traditionally held political competition to be a paramount concern, it is nonetheless important. In this paper we consider whether the break-up of multimember municipal voting districts in the interest of avoiding vote dilution for underrepresented minorities had the unanticipated consequence of reducing political competition.

Attitudes toward Mormons and Voter Behavior in the 2012 Presidential Election

2015, Politics and Religion, 8(1)

 

Prior to the 2012 presidential election, some commentators speculated that Mitt Romney’s status as a devout and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would undermine his presidential aspirations. Using the 2012 American National Election Survey, this study examines the relationship between attitudes toward Mormons and voter behavior in the United States in that election year. It finds that attitudes toward Mormons had a statistically-significant effect on turnout – though these effects differed according to party identification. It additionally finds that these attitudes influenced vote choice. In both cases, the substantive effects were small, indicating that anti-Mormon feelings did play a role in the 2012 presidential election, but they did not determine the final outcome.


Local Political Context and Polarization in the Electorate: Evidence from the 2004 Presidential Election

2013, American Review of Politics, 34(1)


Political scientists have long examined the degree to which the American electorate exhibits partisan and ideological polarization and sought to explain the causal mechanism driving this phenomenon. Some scholars have argued that there is an increasing degree of geographic polarization of the electorate – that is, a large percentage of geographic units are becoming less politically heterogeneous. In this study, I argue that the two trends are related. Using individual-level data from the 2004 National Annenberg Election Survey, I examine the relationship between local partisan context and political attitudes using multilevel models. I find that, as the local political context becomes less competitive in national elections, those in the local political majority become more ideologically extreme, strengthen their partisan attachments, and hold more polarized attitudes toward the two major-party presidential candidates. These findings suggest that the growing geographic partisan segregation of the electorate is an important source of ideological and partisan polarization.

 

 

Issue Voting and Immigration: Do Restrictionist Policies Cost Congressional Republicans Votes?

2013, Social Science Quarterly, 94(5)

Objective: I test the hypothesis that Latino voters were less likely to support Republican incumbents with strong anti-immigration records in the 2006 Congressional elections in comparison to Republicans with less restrictive records. I also test whether non-Hispanic white voters were similarly sensitive to incumbent immigration records when determining vote choice.

Method: To examine these questions, I created hierarchical models in which incumbent immigration records, individual views on immigration, and an interaction between the two were used to predict vote choice in the 2006 midterm elections. Individual-level data were provided by the 2006 Cooperative Congressional Election Study and incumbent immigration records were provided by NumbersUSA.

Results: This analysis found little evidence suggesting that Latino voters are less likely to support Republican incumbents with anti-immigration records. There was evidence suggesting that vote choice among non-Hispanic white was influenced by incumbent records on immigration, but the effect varied according to the respondent’s own views on immigration.

Conclusion: This study found no evidence that incumbent Republicans could increase their share of the Latino vote by embracing less restrictive immigration policies. In fact, doing so may cost them votes among non-Hispanic whites.


Where did the Votes Go? Reassessing American Party Realignments via Vote Transfers between Major Parties from 1860 to 2008

2012, Electoral Studies, co-authored with Iñaki Sagarzazu, 31(4)

Abstract: Political scientists have long debated theories of electoral party realignments. In this paper, we apply ecological inference methods to statistically analyze the transfer of votes within counties in US presidential elections since 1860. Through this analysis we are able to identify the major periods of party realignment in US history and the counties where these shifts took place. As a result, we are able to provide new insights into American electoral history, and provide strong evidence that the 2008 presidential election did not represent a realigning election as the phrase is generally understood.



Home Affordability, Female Marriage Rates and Vote Choice in the 2000 US presidential Election: Evidence from US Counties

2012, Party Politics, 18(5)

Abstract: This article tests the hypothesis that differences in the housing market can partially explain why some American counties are strongly Republican and others strongly Democratic, and that this phenomenon can be largely attributed to the relationship between home values and marriage rates within counties. Specifically, I test the hypothesis that, in the 2000 election, George W. Bush did comparatively better in counties with relatively affordable single-family homes, even when controlling for other economic, demographic and regional variables. Using county-level data, I test this hypothesis using spatial-lag regression models, and provide further evidence using individual-level survey data. My results indicate a statistically significant relationship between Bush’s percentage of the vote at the county level and the median value of owner-occupied homes, and that at least part of this is explained by the relationship between home values and marriage rates among young women.



Political Threat and Immigration: Party Identification, Demographic Context, and Immigration Policy Preferences

2011, Social Science Quarterly, 92(2)

Objective. I propose that the effect of partisanship on views on immigration is context dependent. I argue that Republicans in counties experiencing high levels of immigration are more likely to support new immigration restrictions in contrast to Democrats and Independents than Republicans in counties with a relatively small foreign-born population, and I suspect this is the case because Republicans in high-immigration counties feel politically threatened by the foreign-born residents, who are more likely to support Democratic candidates.

Method. To test this theory, I create hierarchical logit models of views on immigration policy in which individual party identification interacts with the size of the local immigrant population. Individual-level data were drawn from the 2004 National Annenberg Election Survey and county-level contextual variables from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Results. I find that the effect of partisanship on individual views on immigration is context dependent; native-born Republicans are more likely to support immigration restrictions when their local community has a large immigrant population and Democrats less likely.

Conclusion. In areas where immigration levels are low, partisanship is a weak predictor of immigration views. As the foreign-born population increases, however, the views of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents increasingly diverge.

Book Reviews for Scholarly Journals

Welcoming New Americans, by Abigail Fisher Williamson

2019, Political Science Quarterly, 134(3)

Blood and Faith, by Damon T. Berry

2018, Politics and Religion, 11(3)

The People vs. Democracy, by Yascha Mounk

2018, Modern AgeSummer

White Backlash, by Zoltan L. Hajnal and Marisa Abrajano

2016, Political Science Quarterly, 131(1)

Reports

 

Below are some of the publicly available non-refereed reports I have authored or co-authored for various organizations.

Ambivalent Nativism: Trump Supporters' Attitudes Toward Islam and Muslim Immigration

 

2019, The Brookings Institution

The LCMS in the Face of Demographic and Social Change

2016, Journal of Lutheran Mission

Mailbox Metrix: The Data-Driven Impact of Campaign Direct Mail

2014, report for Voter Gravity

Political Independents: What they are and what Impact They Have on Politics Today

2014, report for Voter Gravity

In the Trenches: Voter Canvassing

2014, report for Voter Gravity

The Economic Impact of Immigration Related Local Ordinances

2011, report for America's Society/Council of the Americas, co-authored with  Jason Marczak and Jeronimo Cortina