Elections 2008: Issues and Answers
 
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ELECTION EXPERTS

NATIONAL AND TEXAS POLITICS

Cal Jillson -- Frequently called upon for his astute observations of state and national politics, reporters love Jillson for his availability, depth of ideas -- which often lead to more stories -- and how he boils down complex issues into easy-to-understand historical frameworks. Both The Dallas Morning News and the San Antonio Express-News have profiled him as one of Texas’ top political experts. Jillson is an associate dean and a professor of political science at SMU.
http://smu.edu/smunews/americandream/

POLITICAL SPIN, COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY

Rita Kirk -- A specialist in political communications, Kirk is the author of Soundbite Culture: The Death of Discourse in a Wired World and Communication Strategies in State and Local Elections. Throughout the 2004 and 2006 campaigns, Kirk gave almost daily interviews to national media, including the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune and the Boston Globe, among others. Kirk is a professor of corporate communications and public affairs at SMU.

Daniel Schill -- In the era of YouTube, MySpace and Facebook, candidates have more ways than ever to communicate with voters. Schill’s research studies media and politics, political campaign communication, political marketing, and persuasion and social influence. Schill can also speak to how political figures use media events to build their public image, engender positive media coverage, and favorably frame issues for voters. Schill is an assistant professor of corporate communications and public affairs at SMU.

RELIGION AND POLITICS

Matthew Wilson -- Wilson’s research specializes in the voting behavior of religious voters, as well as public opinion, elections, religion and politics, and political psychology. He is currently at work on two book projects, one on the political behavior of American Catholics and another dealing with how citizens decide whom to hold accountable for social and political outcomes. Wilson’s comments have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek and Reuters, among others. Wilson is an associate professor of political science at SMU.

WOMEN IN CONGRESS

Dennis Simon -- Gadsden, Alabama, is the worst place in the U.S. for a woman to run for Congress. On the other hand, New York City is the best place for a woman to make it to the Capitol. Using data from all 435 Congressional Districts from 1956 to 2004, Simon has conducted extensive research into the districts most likely to elect a woman.  He is the co-author of Breaking the Political Glass Ceiling: Women and Congressional Elections. Simon is an associate professor of political science at SMU.
http://www.smu.edu/smunews/womenincongress/

POLITICS AND THE SUPREME COURT

Joseph F. Kobylka -- Few people in America understand the U.S. Supreme Court and its undercurrents as well as Kobylka, a political science professor whose insights and explanations have recently been featured on the PBS documentary, “The Supreme Court.” Kobylka’s research includes politics, constitutional law and the Supreme Court.
http://smu.edu/newsinfo/stories/kobylka-pbs-31jan2007.asp

VOTING RIGHTS, POLITICAL STATISTICS, PAST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Harold Stanley -- Stanley focuses on gathering the numbers that count in American politics, including statistical information on elections, the presidency and partisan compositions at the congressional and state levels. He is the co-author of Vital Statistics on American Politics, 2003-2004 (Congressional Quarterly, now in its ninth edition). At SMU Stanley holds the Geurin-Pettus Distinguished Chair in American Politics and Political Economy.

THE ECONOMY

Mike Davis -- With elections often making or breaking the political prospects for candidates, just what is the current state of the economy and is the campaign trail rhetoric reflecting actual economic numbers? An economist with astute observations on a wide range of matters, Davis can translate complex issues into an easy-to-understand framework. Davis teaches economics, law and economics, and money and banking in SMU’s Cox School of Business.

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