Research on Science, Technology and Culture. Shifting Opinions, Shifting Policy, Shifting Society.
Political Polarization

Journalist’s Resource @ Harvard University On the Interplay of Partisanship & Beliefs About Science

Journalist’s Resource at Harvard University is an outstanding resource for scholars, journalists and students seeking authoritative backgrounders and discussion of policy-relevant relevant studies in the sciences and social sciences. Below is the text of their backgrounder on our February 18 study published at the journal PLOS ONE. At the page, you can also click on...

The Public Square: In Our Biopolitics Future, Public Debates Will Blur Left/Right Differences

–Reposted from The Public Square blog at The Breakthrough, appearing Feb. 18, 2014. If you follow the rapid pace of advances in biomedicine and the life sciences, you may have wondered why more politically liberal countries like Germany and Canada have stronger restrictions on embryonic stem cell research than the more politically conservative United States. To...

The Scientist Magazine: Beyond Partisanship in Biopolitics

–Reposted commentary appearing at The Scientist Magazine on Feb. 18, 2014. Matthew C. Nisbet & Ezra M. Markowitz During the next decade, advances in the life sciences are likely to generate intense political debate in the United States and around the world. Even as conflict over human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research has largely subsided,...

Our Super Zip State of Mind: Engaging with Communities Not Like Our Own

The transformation of Washington, DC into one of the world’s wealthiest regions has also turned the nation’s capital into one of its most like minded. The homogeneity in economic outlook and social experience has profound implications for how Beltway professionals and advocates design policy and strategy to deal with complex problems like climate change. “It’s...

How Obama Can Defy Debate Critics and Shift Momentum

In my latest column at The Breakthrough, I discuss what Obama can do in tonight’s second Presidential debate to reverse momentum, and it starts with defying critics who are calling on Obama to be more confrontational.  Here’s the start to the column: As President Obama prepares for tomorrow’s night Presidential debate, he faces the most important public...

The Polarization Paradox & the Republicans Are the Problem Thesis

Last month, I published with Dietram Scheufele “The Polarization Paradox: Why Hyperpartisanship Promotes Conservatism and Undermines Liberalism.”  We detail in the article how liberals have become more like conservatives in their political strategies, adopting a win-at-all-costs commitment to policy debates and elections. In doing so, liberals have built their own message machine comprised of think tanks, media...

The Polarization Paradox: Why Hyperpartisanship Strengthens Conservatism and Undermines Liberalism

  Modern campaigns have rarely focused on the issues, but in the 2012 election the level of moral outrage and anger is unprecedented.  Even before the campaign, America was divided, but come next year, if President Obama is re-elected he will likely face a country more polarized than at any time in more than a...

Online News and the End of Political Disagreement

As our political and media systems rapidly evolve, social scientists are revisiting and updating existing models, theories, and methods for investigating the effects of the media on political attitudes and behavior.  Among topics, understanding the relationship between media and political polarization remains perhaps the most complex and challenging. For the 2012 edition of Communication Yearbook, an annual...

Post-2012 Election, Polarization is Likely to Deepen as Parties Purge Moderates

If President Obama is re-elected in the Fall, he is likely to face a Congress even more polarized than today, with the ideological divide greater than at anytime since before the Civil War.  Those are among the conclusions of political scientist Keith Poole and colleagues who have been using a sophisticated algorithm to put into historical context...

More on Mann & Ornstein’s “Blaming Republicans for Polarization” Narrative

At the Washington Post’s The Fix, Chris Cillizza has this to say about Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein’s must read op-ed from the Sunday Post: The truth of the matter though is that most House Members — Republicans and Democrats — are not (nor do they aspire to be) inspirational leaders. What they want to do...