In the course of my research and teaching, I draw a lot of graphs and tables of interesting data. In the classroom, the purpose of this data visualization is to clearly and concisely convey empirical data that speaks to often complex political processes, trends, or theories. Some of this work eventually makes its way into my published research work or public presentations, but much of it is used exclusively in the classroom. This website is a way for me to publicly display some of that work. Because the theme of the blog is effectively “things I am currently teaching and thinking about,” the particular topics on display will vary and might appear rather random at times. I am not sure anyone will be interested in this work, but if you are reading this, then perhaps you will be.
In my Public Opinion & Survey Research course, we recently examined how national attitudes on particular issues evolve over time. Typically, attitudinal change on social issues occurs slowly over time as the result of generational change. Contrary to this expectation, the past few years have witnessed a dramatic transformation in attitudes concerning the rights of gays and lesbians. The American National Election Survey began asking questions concerning support for gay and lesbian rights beginning in 1988 as these issues began to enter the national political agenda in a significant way. The survey has consistently asked two sets of questions concerning
There is a growing consensus among political scientists that American politics is becoming increasingly polarized, but there remains much disagreement concerning its causes anc character.. There is broad and consistent evidence that party leaders and elites have become more polarized; however, there remains significant questions about whether the broader public has become more polarized (see Fiorina and Abrams review of the literature). The evidence is mixed concerning whether Americans are increasingly polarized on major political issues. Yet, there is growing evidence that “affective” polarization may be on the rise. Affective polarization refers to how individuals feel about members of the