PSCI 215W American Elections

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  • Fall 2024
    James Druckman
    Fall 2024 ("W" Required) — TR 15:25 - 16:40
    Course Syllabus

    What explains the current state of the American political system? How do elections and political campaigns work? Are voters manipulated by slick media-based election campaigns? What about campaign ads or social media? Do polls help or harm voters? Do differences in how states regulate voting matter? The goal of this seminar is to enhance our understanding of the contemporary political environment, how elections work, how politicians conduct campaigns, how campaigns and media coverage affect voters, and how we study election campaign dynamics. We will not only examine the academic literature on these topics, but we will also follow the ongoing events of the 2024 presidential primary campaigns. Through a combination of group projects, short assignments, and a research paper, we will arrive at an understanding of elections and campaigns. We also will consider the place of elections and campaigns in contemporary American democracy.

  • Spring 2024
    James Druckman
    Spring 2024 ("W" Required) — MW 10:25 - 11:40
    Course Syllabus

    What explains the current state of the American political system? How do elections and political campaigns work? Are voters manipulated by slick media-based election campaigns? What about campaign ads or social media? Do polls help or harm voters? Do differences in how states regulate voting matter? The goal of this seminar is to enhance our understanding of the contemporary political environment, how elections work, how politicians conduct campaigns, how campaigns and media coverage affect voters, and how we study election campaign dynamics. We will not only examine the academic literature on these topics, but we will also follow the ongoing events of the 2024 presidential primary campaigns. Through a combination of group projects, short assignments, and a research paper, we will arrive at an understanding of elections and campaigns. We also will consider the place of elections and campaigns in contemporary American democracy.

  • Spring 2018
    Lynda W. Powell
    Spring 2018 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
    Course Syllabus

    Each semester we study the causes and consequences of the most recent elections and the issue dynamics that are shaping the next set of elections. We consider how our election rules, such as the presidential Electoral College and the single member plurality elections used in congressional elections, affect the choices candidates make to win office. And we identify how these rules advantage or disadvantage various types of candidates. Some issues, such as party polarization and campaign finance reform are generally in the news and of thus of continuing interest. But new issues will arise and we will discuss these as they come up over the course of the semester.

  • Fall 2016
    Lynda W. Powell
    Fall 2016 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
    Course Syllabus

    Each semester we study the causes and consequences of the most recent elections and the issue dynamics that are shaping the next set of elections. We consider how our election rules, such as the presidential Electoral College and the single member plurality elections used in congressional elections, affect the choices candidates make to win office. And we identify how these rules advantage or disadvantage various types of candidates. Some issues, such as party polarization and campaign finance reform are generally in the news and of thus of continuing interest. But new issues will arise and we will discuss these as they come up over the course of the semester.

  • Spring 2016
    Lynda W. Powell
    Spring 2016 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
    Course Syllabus

    Each semester we study the causes and consequences of the most recent elections and the issue dynamics that are shaping the next set of elections. We consider how our election rules, such as the presidential Electoral College and the single member plurality elections used in congressional elections, affect the choices candidates make to win office. And we identify how these rules advantage or disadvantage various types of candidates. Some issues, such as party polarization and campaign finance reform are generally in the news and of thus of continuing interest. But new issues will arise and we will discuss these as they come up over the course of the semester.

  • Spring 2014
    Lynda W. Powell
    Spring 2014 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
    Course Syllabus

    This semester, special attention will be paid to the upcoming congressional elections. Campaign finance reform is also a timely topic. We will examine the role of money in elections and strategies for regulating its use. Other issues of current concern will include party polarization and gridlock in Congress, and the recently completed redistricting process for US House elections.

  • Fall 2012
    Lynda W. Powell
    Fall 2012 ("W" Optional) — MW 12:30 - 13:45
    Course Syllabus

    This semester, special attention will be paid to upcoming presidential and congressional elections. Campaign finance reform is also a timely topic. We will examine the role of money in elections and strategies for regulating its use. Other issues of current concern will include party polarization and gridlock in Congress, and the recently completed redistricting process for US House elections.

  • Fall 2011
    Lynda W. Powell
    Fall 2011 ("W" Optional) — TR 12:30 - 13:45
    Course Syllabus

    Each semester we examine the causes and consequences of the most recent elections and the issue dynamics that are shaping the next set of selections. We consider how our election rules, such as the presidential Electoral College and the single member plurality elections used in Congress elections affect the choices candidates make to win office and advantage or disadvantage various types of candidates. We focus in particular on timely topics. Some issues, such as party polarization and campaign finance reform are generally in the news and of thus of continuing interest.

  • Fall 2010
    Lynda W. Powell
    Fall 2010 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
    Course Syllabus

    What explains the current state of the American political system? How do elections and political campaigns work? Are voters manipulated by slick media-based election campaigns? What about campaign ads or social media? Do polls help or harm voters? Do differences in how states regulate voting matter? The goal of this seminar is to enhance our understanding of the contemporary political environment, how elections work, how politicians conduct campaigns, how campaigns and media coverage affect voters, and how we study election campaign dynamics. We will not only examine the academic literature on these topics, but we will also follow the ongoing events of the 2024 presidential primary campaigns. Through a combination of group projects, short assignments, and a research paper, we will arrive at an understanding of elections and campaigns. We also will consider the place of elections and campaigns in contemporary American democracy.

  • Spring 2010
    Lynda W. Powell
    Spring 2010 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
    Course Syllabus

    This semester, special attention will be paid to the 2008 presidential and congressional elections. And we will look at the prospects for the 2010 congressional elections. Issues of current concern will include corruption, party polarization, changes in party competition, how the rules shape election outcomes (especially party nominations), the use of the internet in campaigns, and, more generally, the use of various campaign techniques to mobilize different factions of the electorate.