UofSC faculty experts: 2016 South Carolina primaries and presidential election

With the New Hampshire primary just days away, all eyes will turn to South Carolina, site of the first-in-the-South presidential primaries on Feb. 20 and 27. The University of South Carolina’s Office of Public Relations has compiled a list of faculty experts who can discuss topics relevant to the South Carolina primaries and the presidential election.

To arrange interviews, contact the staff member listed with entry below. Direct questions to Peggy Binette at peggy@mailbox.sc.edu or 803-777-7704 (o) or 803-413-3323 (c).


Charles Bierbauer, dean of the College of Information and Communications, is a former political reporter and White House correspondent for CNN, where he covered presidential campaigns from 1984 to 2000. He was named dean in 2002 and has been sought by national and regional media for his insightful commentary and keen observations about political campaigns and South Carolina’s political landscape ever since. He can discuss topics related to presidential politics, media coverage and debate strategies and analysis related to the 2016 presidential election. (Megan Sexton, msexton@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-1421)

Robert Oldendick is a political science professor and expert on American and South Carolina politics, elections and polling. He is the executive director of Institute for Public Service and Policy Research at UofSC, where he has taught since 1989. He can discuss public opinion, political polling and survey and polling methods and response, including the effect that new technologies have on nonresponse. He has published in top journals, including the Journal of Politics, and co-wrote the book “Measuring the American Mind: The Sources, Uses and Impact of Public Opinion,” now in its fourth edition. (Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu; 803-777-7704)

Todd Shaw, an associate professor of political science and African-American studies, is an expert in American racial and ethnic politics, African-American politics, urban and local politics and social movements and grassroots activism. He can discuss how class, gender, age and other social factors create differing definitions of what constitutes African-American group interests and impact voting behavior in South Carolina and nationally. He is president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (term ends March 2017). He joined the UofSC faculty in 2003, and co-wrote “Uneven Roads: An Introduction to Racial and Ethnic Politics” in 2015. (Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu; 803-777-7704)

Roger Newman-Norlund is a professor in the Arnold School of School of Public Health and directs the USC Brain Stimulation Laboratory. Newman-Norlund has conducted research in the emerging area of political neuroscience. His research suggests that the brains of those who self-identify as Republicans and Democrats are hard-wired differently and may be naturally inclined to hold varying, if not opposing, perceptions and values. (Jeff Stensland, stenslan@mailbox.sc.edu)


Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist in the Division of Research at the Darla Moore School of Business, conducts research and comparative research related to South Carolina’s economy. In addition to economic impact studies and forecasting data, he compiles the annual economic outlook for South Carolina. Von Nessen, a native South Carolinian, can discuss South Carolina’s economy and the economic drivers and industry clusters throughout the state’s regions, particularly since the Great Recession in 2008. (Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu; 803-777-7704)

Douglas Woodward is an economics professor and director of the Division of Research at the Darla Moore School of Business. He is an expert on the U.S. economy, particularly in South Carolina. A native of Rochester, New York, he has taught at UofSC since 1987. He has conducted extensive economic impact studies related to South Carolina and companies doing business in the Palmetto State. Woodward has extensive experience working with national media and can discuss South Carolina’s economy, particularly as it relates to the presidential primaries and election cycle. (Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu; 803-777-7704)


South Carolina visuals

South Carolina Political Collections in the Hollings Library offers an excellent visual backdrop for media interviews. The library is home to manuscripts, electronic records and audiovisual materials documenting contemporary government and politics, and its collections include those of South Carolina leaders and political parties. In advance of the February primaries, an exhibit in the Brittain Gallery of the Hollings Library looks at previous presidential primaries, including those of  Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (1984) and  Lindsey Graham, who sought the Republican nomination this election year. (Megan Sexton, msexton@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-1421)

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