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Department of Political Science

New research from Dr. Kelsey Shoub on public responses to COVID, racial bias in policing

In an article published by Science Advances, Dr. Shoub and co-authors explore how polarization among members of Congress on COVID-19 changed from the beginning of the pandemic through April. They combined Twitter data and machine learning methods to find that Democrats discussed the crisis more frequently and emphasized threats to public health and American workers, while Republicans placed a greater emphasis on China and businesses.

Find the text to Elusive consensus: Polarization in elite communication on the COVID-19 pandemic at

In a second article, published in Policy Studies Journal, Dr. Shoub and co-authors argue that a greater municipal reliance on fines, fees, and forfeitures generated by the criminal justice system — and specifically the police — to fund the municipality or the police is linked to disparate policing outcomes. By using millions of traffic stops made available by municipal police departments in North Carolina, they find that a greater reliance on fines, fees, and forfeitures is tied to greater disparities in search rates, with Black drivers being searched at even more disproportionate rates than White drivers as reliance increases.

Find the article Fines, Fees, Forfeitures, and Disparities: A Link Between Municipal Reliance on Fines and Racial Disparities in Policing at

Finally, in a third article recently published in the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, Dr. Shoub and co-authors respond to claims that apparent racial biases in police traffic stops can be explained by factors other than the driver’s race. While they find that many other factors explain some of who is searched in a police traffic stop, they also find that driver race remains a consistent and robust predictor of who police officers

Access the third article Race, Place, and Context: The Persistence of Race Effects in Traffic Stop Outcomes in the Face of Situational, Demographic, and Political Controls at choose to search during traffic stops at

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