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Political Scholars Gather at College to Analyze Midterm Elections

March 18, 2015

Laura Lemire
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7242

On March 13-14, Saint Anselm College brought together 40 prominent political scientists and sociologists to analyze the outcomes and meanings of the most recent midterm elections at the biannual American Election Conference.

The conference, which is held at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm, promotes academic scholarship and discussion on the impact results may have on policy or in the next election cycle. Organized by sociology professor Tauna Sisco and politics professors Chris Galdieri and Jennifer Lucas, the event draws scholars from institutions across the country, including Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Dartmouth, and University of Central Florida.

Sisco said that the Republican party's midterm dominance and unknown future was a consistent theme across presentations.

"The past several election cycles have shown the Republicans to gain advantage at the midterms, especially with a sitting Democrat president who was polling poorly," she stated. "The youth vote/mobilization was missing in the midterms and could play an important role in Democrat strategy for 2016-but will also be precarious because Obama's brand and youth following might not translate to other Democratic nominees. Marginalized groups (minorities, women) will continue to play an important role in electoral outcomes. Partisanship is increasing; but how it will impact the 2016 primary is unclear."

Keynote speaker Sasha Issenberg, author of "The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns" and a contributor to Bloomberg Politics, spoke to the group on Friday night.

Sisco believed the conference went well. "Its ‘symposium style' created a dialogue between presenters and attendees on presentation findings, providing important feedback in areas that maybe hadn't been explored by presenters but that can affect future avenues of research," she said.

The first biannual conference resulted in politics professor Peter Josephson and theology professor Ward Holder publishing a volume by Palgrave McMillan.

Story by Dominique Del Prete '15

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