POLS 509: Roots of Political Behavior
Office: Zulauf Hall 412
E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Few fields have generated as much
scholarship as the areas of political participation, voting, and
elections. This class will introduce you
to several of the “classics” in the field as well as a plethora of new
research. We will cover everything from
whether the lack of voter turnout in the
It is important to note that neither the readings we will cover in this course nor the topics addressed are comprehensive. Indeed, because of time constraints, we will pay little attention to important questions regarding comparative political behavior, political psychology, and the effects of campaigns. Still, the seminar will prepare the PhD students for their comprehensive exams and will help the masters’ students develop potential starred papers.
Grading: Students will receive four grades over the course of the semester:
Final Exam (30%): The final exam will consist of an essay question and will be completed in class. The question will resemble a comprehensive exam question given by the department’s American Government faculty. Students will not be able to use their notes or readings during the exam, but will be able to use their syllabi. The final will be Tuesday, May 8th. The examination must be completed to earn a passing grade and credit for the course. However, students enrolled under an audit option are exempt.
Research Paper (38%): Each student is required to write an original research paper on a topic related to political behavior (that receives my approval). In the paper, students should develop and test empirically a hypothesis. The paper is not a research design or a literature review. The goal is to have the student create a paper that is suitable for presentation at a regional or national political science conference or that could be accepted as a department starred paper. As a result, students will give a formal presentation of their papers some time during the final two class periods. The paper will be discussed in greater detail in class.
Students must have their research question approved by me by Tuesday, February 6th. Students should set a time to meet with me before the 6th to discuss ideas for the papers. On the 6th, students should turn in an abstract that includes the research question and a preliminary hypothesis or hypotheses. They will be required to turn in a literature review on Tuesday, March 20th and a brief paper explaining the data and methods used in the paper on Tuesday, April 3rd. Failure to hand in any of the assignments on time will result in an automatic failure on the paper. The paper will be due May 1st, although some students should be prepared to present the findings of their papers by April 24th. To earn a passing grade in the course, this assignment must be completed. However, students enrolled in the course under an audit option are exempt.
Weekly Memos (22%): Students are required to write a one-page single-spaced reaction paper to the readings each week. Students are to highlight arguments that they found most interesting, make general comments about the arguments in the readings, and ask questions about areas in which they are confused. Papers are due to me via e-mail by the day of class. Students who do not turn in a paper by will receive a 0 for the paper, NO EXCEPTIONS!! Students who do not hand in more than two memos will automatically receive a course grade of “F.” Memos will be graded based on 0-2 points. A two-point paper will raise intriguing questions, provide insightful comments, and integrate concepts analyzed in more than one of the readings.
Participation (10%): For the most part, this class will be conducted in a seminar format. Therefore, it is imperative that students actively participate in class. Students are expected to contribute comments about the readings and questions about the material. This class depends greatly on quality participation in order for you to get the most out of it. All required readings for a particular week are to be completed by everyone before arriving in class; and each member of the class should be prepared to summarize, react to, and draw from the readings in depth. Also, your research presentation will be part of your participation grade (although you will not be given a grade for the presentation).
In general, relevant in-class participation will be evaluated according to the following scale with plus and minus grades being possible.
A=regular and thoughtful participation
B=occasional and thoughtful participation
C=regular attendance, but little or no participation
Students who miss more than two classes will fail the class, although students are not expected to miss any classes barring a family emergency or major illness.
1. Makeup Exam: I will only give a makeup final examination under extraordinary circumstances. If such circumstances arise, please contact me as soon as possible and before the scheduled exam. To keep the process fair for everyone in the course, students may be asked to support requests for makeup examinations with documentation. A missed examination without prior notification and a documented excuse will result in a zero and a course grade of “F” as opposed to an incomplete.
3. Late Assignments: I will not accept late weekly memos. If I do not receive the memo via email by on the day of class, you will receive a zero for the assignment. Students who miss more than two weekly memos will receive a course grade of “F” as opposed to an incomplete. A research paper submitted after the due date will be penalized by a deduction of ten points (one letter grade) per day. Since students will have had several weeks to write their papers, this standard will be waived only in extreme circumstances.
4. Incomplete Requests: Such petitions will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances. The professor reserves the right to ask for documentation to verify the problem preventing completion of the course by the normal deadlines. If the student does not present documentation from a university office or official, the matter will be left to the professor’s discretion.
5. Academic Dishonesty: In preparing for their work and meeting
the requirements of this course, members of this seminar are expected to adhere
to all the rules, regulations, and standards set forth by the Department of
Campbell, David E.
2006. Why We Vote:
1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy.
These books are available at the NIU bookstore. Students are strongly encouraged to visit websites such as www.campusi.com to find much cheaper, used versions of these books. The remainder of the readings will be placed on electronic reserve, are available through J-stor or online, or can be copied from journals in the library. When on campus, you can access articles by going to http://www.niulib.niu.edu/journals.cfm.
93-100% A 90-92.9% A- 87.5-89.9% B+
83-87.4% B 80-82.9% B- 77.5-79.9% C+
73-77.4% C 70-72.9% C- 60-69.9% D
Less than 60% F
Course Outline and
1/16 Introduction to the Course
1/23 Classic Theories of Voting
Berelson, Bernard R., Paul F. Lazarsfeld, and William N. McPhee. 1954. Voting.
Campbell, Angus, Philip E. Converse, Warren E. Miller, and Donald E. Stokes. 1960.
The American Voter.
1957. An Economic Theory of
Row. Chapters 1, 3, and 11-13.
“Explorations of a Political Theory of Party Identification.” In Classics in Voting Behavior.
1/30 Participation and Turnout
Aldrich, John. 1993. “Rational Choice and Turnout.” American Journal of Political Science 37: 246-278.
Brady, Henry, Sidney Verba, and Kay Lehman Schlozman. 1995. “Beyond SES: A Resource Model of Participation.” American Political Science Review 89: 271-294.
1957. An Economic Theory of
Row. Chapter 14.
Franklin, Mark N.
Participation.” In Comparing
Democracies: Elections and Voting in a
Niemi, and Pippa Norris (eds.): 216-35. (E)
Hajnal, Zoltan L., and Paul G. Lewis. 2003. “Municipal Institutions and Voter Turnout
in Local Elections.” Urban Affairs Review 38: 645-668.
McDonald, Michael P., and Samuel L. Popkin. 2001. “The Myth of the Vanishing Voter.” American Political Science Review 95: 963-974.
Powell, G. Bingham, Jr. 1986. “American Voter Turnout in Comparative
Perspective.” American Political Science Review 80: 17-43.
Putnam, Robert D. 1995. “Tuning in, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social
2/6 Participation and Turnout, cont.
Gerber, Alan S., and Donald P. Green. 2000. “The Effects of Personal Canvassing, Telephone Calls, and Direct Mail on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment.” American Political Science Review 94: 653-664.
Niven, David. 2004. “The Mobilization Solution? Face-to-Face Contact and Voter Turnout in a Municipal Election.” Journal of Politics 66: 868-884.
Rosenstone, Steven J., and John Mark Hansen. 1993. Mobilization, Participation, and Democracy
Gerber, Alan S., Donald P. Green, and Ron Shachar. 2003. “Voting May Be Habit-Forming: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment.” American Journal of Political Science 47: 540-550.
Plutzer, Eric. 2002. “Becoming a Habitual Voter: Inertia, Resources and Growth in Young Adulthood.” American Political Science Review 96: 41-56.
Does Turnout Matter?
Citrin, Jack, Eric Schickler, and John Sides. 2003. “What If Everyone Voted?
Simulating the Impact of Increased Turnout in Senate Elections.” American
Journal of Political Science 47: 75-90.
Hajnal, Zoltan, and Jessica Trounstine. 2005. “Where Turnout Matters: The
Consequences of Uneven Turnout in City Politics.” Journal of Politics 67:
Nagel, Jack H., and John E. McNulty. 1996. “Partisan Effects of Voter Turnout in
Senatorial and Gubernatorial Elections.” American Political Science Review 90: 780-793.
2/13 No Class. ILS Conference.
2/20 Participation and Turnout, cont
2006. Why We Vote?
2/27 Political Knowledge
Converse, Philip E. 1964. “The Nature of Mass Belief Systems in Mass Publics.” In
David E. Apter (ed.) Ideology and Discontent.
Delli Carpini, Michael X., and Scott Keeter. 1996. What Americans Know About
and Why It Matters.
Jerit, Jennifer, Jason Barabas, and Toby Bolsen. 2006. “Citizens, Knowledge, and the
Information Environment. American Journal of Political Science 47: 266.282.
Kuklinski, James H., Paul J. Quirk, Jennifer Jerit, David Schwieder, and Robert F. Rich.
2000. “Misinformation and the Currency of Democratic Citizenship.” Journal of
Politics 62: 790-816.
Lau, Richard R. and David P. Redlawsk. 1997. “Voting Correctly.” American Political
Science Review 91: 585-98.
Prior, Markus. 2005. “News vs. Entertainment: How Increasing Media Choice Widens
Gaps in Political Knowledge and Turnout.” American Journal of Political Science 49: 577-592.
Zaller, John and
Answering Questions versus Revealing Preferences.” American Journal of Political Science 36: 579-616.
3/6 Analyses of Voter Decision Making
Carmines, Edward G. and James A. Stimson. 1980. “The Two Faces of Issue Voting.”
American Political Science Review 74: 78-91.
Kinder, Donald R., Gordon S. Adams, and Paul W. Gronke. 1989. “Economics and
Politics in the 1984 American Presidential Election.” American Journal of
Political Science 33:491-515.
Lodge, Milton and Marco R. Steenbergen, with Shawn Brau. 1995. “The Responsive
Voter: Campaign Information and the Dynamics of Candidate Evaluation.” American Political Science Review 89: 309-26.
MacKuen, Michael B., Robert S. Erikson, and James A. Stimson. 1992. “Peasants or
Bankers? The American Electorate
Science Review 86:597-611.
Rabinowitz, George, and Susan Elaine McDonald. 1989. “A Directional Theory of Issue
Voting.” American Political Science Review 83: 93-121.
Wattenberg, Martin P., Ian McAllister, and Anthony Salvanto. 2000. “How Voting Is
Like Taking an SAT test: An Analysis of American Voter Rolloff.” American Politics Research 28: 234-250.
3/13 No Class. Spring Break
3/20 The Role of Heuristics
Hayes, Danny. 2005. “Candidate Qualities through a Partisan Lens: A Theory of Trait
Ownership.” American Journal of Political Science 49: 908-923.
Huckfeldt, Robert, Jeffrey Levine, William Morgan, and John Sprague. 1999.
“Accessibility and the Political Utility of Partisan Ideological Orientations.”
American Journal of Political Science 43: 888-911.
Kuklinski, James H., and Norman L. Hurley. 1994. “On Hearing and Interpreting
Political Messages: A Cautionary Tale of Citizen Cue-Taking.” Journal of
Politics 56: 729-751.
Lau, Richard. R and David P. Redlawsk. 2001. “Advantages and Disadvantages of
Cognitive Heuristics in Political Decision-Making.” American Journal of Political Science 45: 951-71.
Mondak, Jeffrey J. 1993. “Public Opinion and Heuristic Processing of Source Cues.”
Political Behavior 15: 167-192.
Popkin, Samuel L.
1991. The Reasoning Voter.
Prologue and Chapter 1. (E)
Rahn, Wendy. 1993. “The Role of Partisan Stereotypes in Information Processing about
Candidates.” American Journal of Political Science 37:472-496.
3/27 Voting in Low-Information Elections
Baum, Lawrence, and David Klein. 2007. “Voters’ Responses to High-Visibility
Judicial Elections.” In Matthew J. Streb (ed.) Running for Judge.
Propositions.” Political Research Quarterly 56: 367-377.
Byrne, Gary C., and Kristian Pueschel. 1974. “But Who Should I Vote for County
Coroner?” Journal of Politics 36: 778-784.
McDermott, Monika L. 2005. “Candidate Occupation and Voter Information Shortcuts.”
Journal of Politics 67: 201-219.
Nicholson, Stephen P. 2003. “The Political Environment and Ballot Proposition
Awareness.” American Journal of Political Science 47: 403-410.
Schaffner, Brian F., and Matthew J. Streb. 2002. “The Partisan Heuristic in Low
Information Elections.” Public Opinion Quarterly 66: 559-581.
Schaffner, Brian F.,
Republican Advantage in Nonpartisan Elections.” Forthcoming, Political
Research Quarterly. (E)
Squire, Peverill, and Eric R.A.N. Smith. 1988. “The Effect of Partisan Information on Voters in Nonpartisan Elections.” Journal of Politics 50: 169-179.
4/3 The Effects of Paid Media on Voting Behavior
Ansolabehere, Stephen, and Shanto Iyengar. 1994. “Riding the Wave and Claiming
Ownership Over Issues: The Joint Effects of Advertising and News Coverage in Campaigns.” Public Opinion Quarterly 58: 335-357.
Ansolabehere, Stephen, Shanto Iyengar, Adam Simon, and Nicholas Valentino.
1994. “Does Attack Advertising Demobilize the Electorate?” American
Political Science Review 88: 829-838.
Brians, Craig Leonard, and Martin P. Wattenberg. 1996. “Campaign Issue
Knowledge and Salience: Comparing Reception from TV Commercials, TV
News, and Newspapers.” American Journal of Political Science 40: 172-193.
Clinton, Joshua D., and John S. Lapinski. 2004. “’Targeted’ Advertising and Voter
Turnout: An Experimental Study of the 2000 Presidential Election.” Journal of Politics 66: 69-96.
Finkel, Steven E., and John G. Geer. 1998. “A Spot Check: Casting Doubt on the
Demobilizing Effect of Attack Advertising.” American Journal of Political
Science 42: 573-95.
Shaw, Daron R. 1999. “The Effects of TV Ads and Candidate Appearances on
Statewide Presidential Votes, 1988-1996.” The American Political Science Review 93: 345-361.
Sigelman, Lee, and Mark Kugler. 2003. “Why Is Research on the Effects of Negative
Campaigning So Inconclusive? Understanding Citizens’ Perceptions of
Negativity.” Journal of Politics 65: 142-160.
4/10 The Effects of Earned Media on Voting Behavior
Bartels, Larry M. 1993. “Messages Received: The Political Impact of Media
Exposure.” American Political Science Review 87: 267-285.
Beck, Paul Allen, Russell J. Dalton, Steven Greene, and Robert Huckfeldt. 2002. “The
Social Calculus of Voting: Interpersonal, Media, and Organizational Influences
on Presidential Choices.” American Political Science Review 96: 57-73.
Media: Information Flows in the 1992 Presidential Election.” American Political Science Review 92: 111-126.
Druckman, James N., and Michael Parkin. 2005. “The Impact of Media Bias: How
Editorial Slant Affects Voters.” Journal of Politics 67: 1030-1049.
Finkel, Steven E. 1993. “Reexamining the ‘Minimal Effects’ Model in Recent
Presidential Campaigns.” Journal of Politics 55: 1-21.
Kahn, Kim Fridkin, and Patrick J. Kennedy. 2002. “The Slant of the News: How
Editorial Endorsements Influence Campaign Coverage and Citizens’ Views of Candidates.” American Political Science Review 96: 381-94.
Mutz, Diana C., and Paul S. Martin. 2001. “Facilitating Communication Across Lines of
Political Difference: The Role of Mass Media.” American Political Science Review 95: 97-114.
Mutz, Diana C., and Byron Reeves. 2005. “The New Videomalaise: Effects of Televised
Incivility on Political Trust.” American Political Science Review 99: 1-15.
4/17 Voting Behavior and Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
Abrajano, Marisa A., Jonathan Nagler, and R. Michael Alvarez. 2005. “A Natural
Experiment of Race-Based and Issue
Voting: The 2001 City of
Barreto, Matt A., Gary M. Segura, and Nathan D. Woods. 2004. “The Mobilizing Effect
of Majority-Minority Districts on Latino Turnout.” American Political Science Review 98: 65-75.
Bobo, Lawrence, and Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. 1990. “Race, Sociopolitical Participation,
and Black Empowerment.” American Political Science Review 84: 377-393.
Chaney, Carole Kennedy, R. Michael Alvarez, and Jonathan Nagler. 1998. “Explaining
the Gender Gap in
Quarterly 51: 311-339.
Gay, Claudine. 2001. “The Effect of Black Congressional Representation on Political
Participation.” American Political Science Review 95: 589-602.
Kaufmann, Karen, and John R. Petrocik. 1999. “The Changing Politics of American
Men: Understanding the Sources of the Gender Gap.” American Journal of Political Science 43: 864-887.
Tate, Katherine. 1991. “Black Political Participation in the 1984 and 1988 Presidential
Elections.” American Political Science Review 85: 1159-1176.
4/24 Research Presentations
5/1 Research Presentations
5/8 Final Exam