2012 Presidential Election

Expert sources from America's colleges and universities providing insight on the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign.

Advertising and Polling

Paul Freedman
Associate Professor of Politics
University of Virginia
Office:  434/924-1372
Mobile:  434/242-8654
Email:  freedman@virginia.edu

Expertise: Freedman co-authored a book demonstrating how, contrary to popular opinion, voters benefit from the ongoing barrage of negative political ads, which serve as "multi-vitamins for the average American's impoverished diet of political information."  His research found that negative ads are the ones most likely to educate, engage and mobilize voters.  Freedman does off-camera polling return analysis for ABC News.  Media citation examples and more info at:  http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=6888.

American Presidency

Tom Cronin
McHugh Professor of Political Science
Colorado College
Office:  719/277-8249
Cell:  719/393-2448
Home:  719/635-5432
Email: Tom.Cronin@ColoradoCollege.edu

Expertise: Cronin, one of the preeminent presidency scholars of the modern era, is a former White House fellow and staff aide, Brookings Institution staff member and served as a delegate or reporter/commentator at nine national political conventions.  He reinvigorated the field of presidency studies, helping to build an institution (the Presidency Research Group) to support the study of the presidency.  His most recent book, The Paradoxes of the American Presidency, explores the fact that the American presidency is burdened with paradoxes that make the job arduous under the best of circumstances:  The public wants a strong president but is suspicious of power; a leader who is heroic yet has the common touch; demands bold visions but at low social and economic costs.  Such paradoxes provide the framework for a comprehensive study of the presidency and its interactions with Congress, political parties, the Supreme Court, the cabinet, and, most important, the public.

Larry J. Sabato
University Professor of Politics
Director of the Center for Politics
University of Virginia
Phone: 434/243-8468
Email: sabato@virginia.edu

Expertise:  Recognized as one of the nation's top political analysts, Sabato is a keen observer of politics on the national, regional and state levels.  He has written 24 books including Feeding Frenzy, A More Perfect Constitution and The Year of Obama.  His nationally watched Crystal Ball predictions have consistently been the most accurate of any prognosticators; in 2006 he was named the most accurate prognosticator by a broad range of news organizations: FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC, and Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism.  In his two latest books, The Year of Obama and Pendulum Swing Sabato and a team of national experts examine the titanic shifts in American politics manifested in the past two elections, and implications for the 2012 election.  Media citation examples and more info at: http://www.centerforpolitics.org/

Health Care Policy

Nancy A. Miller
Professor of Public Policy
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Office:  410/455-3889
Email: nanmille@umbc.edu

Expertise:  Nancy A. Miller is a professor in UMBC's Department of Public Policy specializing in health policy, disability and long-term care, health disparities and aging policy.  Miller has conducted interdisciplinary health policy research for two decades, serving at the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) prior to coming to UMBC.  She is nationally recognized for her expertise on Medicare and Medicaid, as well as changes in health policy under the Obama administration, which will be widely debated in 2012.

In the recent NPR story "A New Nursing Home Population: The Young," Miller introduced listeners to the increasing number of working-age people living in nursing homes, likely due to cuts to state programs that enable home or other institutional care.  In addition to innovative research on nursing home decision-making and community-based care programs, Miller focuses on access to care.  She can provide expertise on health policy issues from policymaker, caregiver and patient perspectives.

Immigration, Race, and the 2012 Campaign

Karthick Ramakrishnan
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of California, Riverside
Office: 951/827-5540
Cell: 818/305-4865
Email: karthick.ramakrishnan@ucr.edu
NOTE: Karthick Ramakrishnan is a fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., through mid-July. His contact information there is:
Telephone: 202/692-4080
Email: karthick.ramakrishnan@wilsoncenter.org

Expertise: His research focuses on civic participation, immigration policy, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. He can comment on issues involving the Asian-American vote in some key states for the presidential and Senate races, including Virginia, Nevada and Florida. He is the project director of the National Asian American Survey, the only nationally representative survey of Asian-American voters done so far--first in 2008 and again this summer, with results anticipated by mid-September. Quoting Ramakrishnan on the impending decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Arizona's SB1070: "This case could have a big impact on the November election. Mitt Romney has declared that he would allow state laws like Arizona's SB1070 to stand, and President Obama has opposed such laws. Regardless of how the Supreme Court decides, if Romney continues to voice support for these laws, he will find it difficult to win Latino supporters."

Middle East Politics and Policy

Mohammad Mahallati
Presidential Scholar in Islamic Studies
Oberlin College
Telephone: 440/775-8861
Email: Jafar.Mahallati@oberlin.edu

Expertise: Mahallati served as the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations from 1987 to 1989, when he worked on U.N. Security Council Resolution 598 to end the violence between Iran and Iraq that began with the Iran-Iraq War in September 1980. Currently a professor of Islamic studies and ethics, he is known in academic circles to be a staunch promoter of religious moderation and interfaith understanding.  His writings deal primarily with interfaith peacemaking and bridge building between civilizations. His current research involves the ethics of friendship in Muslim cultures and examines cultural and traditional factors that could be utilized in modern international relations.  Since 2004, he has been an annual participant in the Conference on World Affairs.  Mahallati previously served as a senior scholar and affiliate with several think tanks, including the Middle East Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Affairs, Search for Common Ground, and others.

William Quandt
Edward R. Stettinius Jr.
Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs
University of Virginia
Office:  434/924-7896
Cell:  434/971-1688
Email: quandt@virginia.edu 

Expertise:  As a former senior staff member of the National Security Council and aide to President Carter, Quandt helped craft the 1978 Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt.  Quandt is an expert on the Middle East, especially Egypt, Israel and American foreign policy in the Middle East.  He was a consultant to ABC News during the Gulf War, and has been quoted widely in major media.  In a book strikingly relevant to the current turmoil in the region, Between Ballots and Bullets: Algeria's Transition from Authoritarianism, Quandt looks at both the pressures that erode authoritarian regimes and the difficulties of making a transition to democracy in the Arab world. Media citation examples and more info at:

Political Satire

Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Cell: 410/967-2775
Email: kal@kaltoons.com

Expertise: Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher, editorial cartoonist for The Economist, is artist-in-residence at UMBC's Imaging Research Center.  There he leads the popular USDemocrazy project, helping students explore and explain the US political system (see www.usdemocrazy.net/about/mission-video/). His work for The Economist and The Baltimore Sun has appeared in over 100 publications worldwide, including Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Pravda, Krokodil, Daily Yomiuri, The Australian, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and The Washington Post.

"My job is not to make people laugh.  It's to make people think, Kallaugher says.  "You're trying to further the political discourse using a tool which is accessible to the masses."  His drawings have been exhibited at the Tate Gallery, Library of Congress, Cartoon Art Museum and Walter's Art Museum, which curated "Worth a Thousand Words: A Picture of Contemporary Political Satire" and "Mightier than The Sword: The Satirical Pen of KAL." 

Political Sentiment and Ideology

Laura Hussey
Assistant Professor of Political Science
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Office: 410/455-6560
Email: lhussey@umbc.edu

Expertise: Laura Hussey, assistant professor of political science, is an expert on American morality and social welfare policy and public opinion on policy issues, including the role of political ideologies and religion.  She's examined political engagement among those who don't define themselves as "liberal" or "conservative" and can discuss how increasing partisanship and the tea party movement have impacted the political/policy landscape.  Hussey has recently provided insight for the Baltimore Sun, among other regional print, radio, TV and online media, and served as a commentator for the 2010 election.  She can also comment on state and local politics and how US government agencies function.

Thomas F. Schaller
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Office: 410/455-2845
Cell: 202/299-4778
Email: Schaller67@gmail.com

Expertise: Thomas F. Schaller is the author of the acclaimed Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South, of which Publishers Weekly wrote, "The basic truth of the author's fight-fire-with-fire strategy is undeniable:  a much-needed shot of realpolitik in the arm of the modern Democratic Party."  Schaller is an expert on the American presidency, U.S. Congress, interest groups/lobbying and electoral campaigns.  He has recently commented on political rhetoric, the Tea Party movement and the impact of demographic change on national priorities and political ideologies.  He can also provide an important historical perspective on presidential issues."

Schaller's writing has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, American Prospect, Politico, Salon and The New Republic. He has been a guest on The Colbert Report, ABC News, MSNBC, NPR, PBS and C-SPAN's Washington Journal.

President and Partisanship

William F. Connelly Jr.
The John K. Boardman Professor of Politics
Washington and Lee University
Office: 540/458-8627

Expertise: Connelly, a former Congressional Fellow with the American Polical Science Association who served as legislative assistant for both Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana and Congressman Dick Cheney of Wyoming, has most recently been examining the role that partisanship plays in the political process.  His latest book, James Madison Rules America: The Constitutional Origins of Congressional Partisanship (Rowan & Littlefield) was published in 2010 and argued that partisanship occurs, in part because we have a governmental system premised on the separation of powers.  This three-branch, bicameral framework, instituted by Madison in the Constitution, promotes competition and innovation.  He has been a regular commentator for numerous diverse publications on a variety of issues in politics.  Connelly serves as the faculty adviser to Washington and Lee University's Mock Convention, a quadrennial tradition in which student delegates attempt to predict the presidential nominee of the political party currently out of the White House.

Presidential Primaries

Robert D. Loevy
Professor of Political Science
Colorado College
Office:  719/389-6584
Cell: 719/640-5895
Home: 719/471-7848
Email: bloevy@ColoradoCollege.edu

Expertise: Loevy goes to presidential caucuses and primaries to critique them academically.  He has observed presidential caucuses and primaries (1992 through 2008) in Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, Oregon, California and Colorado.  He is highly critical of the presidential nominating process, and his "Small States First, Large States Last" proposal (similar elements appeared in the Delaware Plan) was considered but rejected by the Rules Committee at the Republican National Convention in 2000.  He also supports pre-primary national conventions and abolition of the Electoral College.  Loevy has published two books on the presidential nominating process in the United States: The Flawed Path to The Presidency 1992 (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1995) and The Manipulated Path to The White House (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1998).

Race, Media, and the 2008 Campaign

Kimberly Moffitt
Assistant Professor of American Studies
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Office:  410/455-1451
Cell:  202/468-0161
Email:  kmoffitt@umbc.edu

Expertise:  Kimberly Moffitt is a co-editor of the 2010 book, The Obama Effect: Multidisciplinary Renderings of the 2008 Campaign.  The book, a collection of essays that places Obama's candidacy and victory in the context of America's experience with race and the media, was inspired by a national conference that Moffitt co-organized to discuss the nomination of the first presidential candidate of African descent.  "No one else was able to capture that unique space in which Obama was still a candidate, yet deemed successful at changing the way we do politics and campaigning," said Moffitt.

Moffitt''s areas of study include multiculturalism and media studies, particularly how people of African descent are portrayed in the media.  In addition to The Obama Effect, she is a co-editor of Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities and The 1980s: A Critical and Transitional Decade.

Social Media: Its Power and Limits

Michael Parkin
Assistant Professor of Politics
Oberlin College
Telephone:  440/775-6197
Email:  Michael.Parkin@oberlin.edu

Expertise: Michael Parkin's research focuses on political campaigns and the relationship between candidates, the media, and voters. He is particularly interested in how candidates use "new media" (e.g., blogs, twitter, facebook, and entertainment television) and the effect this has on voters.His research has uncovered a number of intriguing and often surprising results including how candidates approach social networking sites in very different ways depending on their relative strength in the race and that candidate's appearances on late night talk shows can stimulate voters to think in policy terms rather than focusing on the candidate's personality. His research has appeared in American Political Science Review, The Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and The Social Science Computer Review.  He teaches courses on political psychology, media and mass political behavior, and campaigns and elections.

Tim Pawlenty and Possible Rivals in 2012 Presidential Campaign

Associate Professor and Director
Jan Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching
Political Science Department
Macalester College
Telephone:  651/696-6714
Email:  christiansen@macalester.edu

Expertise:  Christiansen has been widely quoted analyzing political campaign rhetoric, women in politics and presidential campaigns.  She can talk about the 2012 presidential campaign and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's possible run for the presidency against fellow Republican and Minnesotan Rep. Michele Bachmann or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.  Her expertise includes political communication, rhetoric and public address, rhetoric of social movements and feminist rhetoric.  Her scholarly efforts have focused on the language of war and the rhetoric of social movements.  More information can be found at http://www.macalester.edu/politicalscience/facultystaff/adriennechristiansen/

Catherine Allgor
Professor of History
University of California, Riverside
Office: 951/827-1972 
Home: 951/684-0044
Email: catherine.allgor@ucr.edu

Expertise: Allgor's primary research interest is in the role of women in American political history, including America's first ladies. She is the author of Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government and A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation. Quoting Allgor: "Dolley Madison set the pattern for all first ladies. Before her White House, there was no one single space where everyone in Washington, including members of government, their families and the locals, could all get together. She became really famous for her parties." And on America's fascination with first ladies' fashion sense: "In politics, fashion has everything to do with one of the functions of the first lady, which is to be a charismatic figure, a larger-than-life figure for her husband's administration that imparts emotion and psychological messages to the nation."

Julie Dolan
Associate Professor and Chair
Political Science Department
Macalester College
Home:  651/696-6483
Email:  dolan@macalester.edu

Expertise: Dolan can talk about Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) and her possible run for president.  Bachmann has emerged as one of the most-quoted critics of the Obama administration and is a Tea Party favorite and potential presidential candidate in 2012.  Dolan's research focuses on women in politics, American political institutions, public administration and representative bureaucracy.  She is the author of Women and Politics:  Paths to Power and Political Influence with Melissa Deckman and Michele L. Swers, first published in 2006, revised 2010.


back to top