Faculty experts: 2022 Midterm elections

Early voting is underway and South Carolina voters will make decisions for many key races, including governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and even two proposed state constitutional amendments. The University of South Carolina’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs has compiled a list of faculty experts. 

To arrange interviews, contact the staff member listed with entry below. Direct all other questions to Alexis Watts, AlexisWatts@sc.edu.


Public opinion, political polling and surveys: Robert Oldendick is a political science professor and expert on American and South Carolina politics, elections and polling. He can discuss public opinion, political polling and survey and polling methods and response, including the effect that new technologies have on nonresponse. 
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@sc.edu.

Jacob Long is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The big question this year is if polling will repeat the same errors of recent elections. An expert in political communication, he can discuss the data science behind polling – how data is analyzed, how it’s shared and what to make of it. Long can also speak on other issues at the intersection of media and politics, including the correlation between news coverage and polling performance and how political comedy shows such as The Daily Show influence news consumption.
News contact: J. Scott Parker, j.scottparker@sc.edu.

Charles Bierbauer, Former College of Information and Communications dean is a former political reporter and White House correspondent for CNN, where he covered presidential campaigns from 1984 to 2000. He has been sought by national and regional media for his insightful commentary on political campaigns.
News contact: Alexis Watts, AlexisWatts@sc.edu.

Racial and ethnic politics: Todd Shaw is an associate professor of political science and African American Studies. He is an expert in American racial and ethnic politics, African American politics, urban and local politics and citizen participation. He and several co-editors wrote a book for NYU Press on African American politics in the post-Obama era. He researches questions of African American attitudes, ideology, voting behavior and civic engagement but can speak to American voting patterns and public policy more broadly. He is a past president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. He joined the UofSC faculty in 2003 and co-wrote Uneven Roads: An Introduction to Racial and Ethnic Politics in 2015.
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@sc.edu.

Activist groups, social media and voting: Candice Edrington is an assistant professor for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Polls continue to indicate that the economy and inflation are at the top of voters' minds, but several other issues also are vying for voters' attention— racism, immigration, global warming, foreign policy and more. Edrington’s research explores the intersections of strategic communication, social movements, social media, activism, and advocacy through a public relations lens. She analyzes the main objectives of social movements and how they communicate that to not only participants of the movement, but those outside of the movement by looking at the message strategies used on social media platforms and other forms of digital technology. Edrington can discuss how activist groups are working to mobilize voters through social media.
News contact: Alexis Watts, AlexisWatts@sc.edu. 

Social influence on political behaviors: Elizabeth Connors, an assistant professor of political science, studies how people’s social surroundings influence their political values, opinions, and behaviors. Some of her recent research looks at political anger and its role in polarization. She can also comment on "social desirability bias," in which polls are skewed by people replying to polls based on social factors or pressures and then vote differently.
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@sc.edu.

State government, parties, campaigns, and polarization: Josh Meyer-Gutbrod is an instructor of political science who researches the impact of national partisan polarization on the different levels of elected institutions within the American system. Conventional wisdom suggests that political polarization looks the same at the national and local level, but his research explores differences driven by the competition between national agendas and distinct local concerns. He can polarization as it relates to state governments, campaigns and elections.
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@sc.edu. 

Voting behavior and political geography: David Darmofal, an associate professor in political science, researches political behavior, political geography, American political development and political methodology. 
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@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. Polls show that the economy and inflation are at the top of voters' minds. Inflation is still at a 40-year high and voters are being squeezed between higher prices for consumer goods and interest rates that have been increased in hopes of reducing those prices. 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.
News contact: Marjorie Duffie, marjorie.duffie@moore.sc.edu.

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 the university 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 election cycle.  
News contact: Marjorie Duffie, marjorie.duffie@moore.sc.edu


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.
News contact: Nicole Carrico, carrico@mailbox.sc.edu.

Kennedy Greenhouse Studio: Located just off the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe and only two blocks from the State House, Kennedy Greenhouse Studio is a turn-key production studio capable of sending live video feed (rates vary based on airtime and connection requested). Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hour times are available upon request. As an educational studio, precedence is given to student shows and class activities. For more information about equipment, rates and reservations, contact Britt Hogg, bhogg@mailbox.sc.edu.

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