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There’s a lot of noise created by our constant news cycle, but few ways to grasp what’s really going on in politics today. Not Another Politics Podcast—launched and produced through the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy—provides a fresh perspective on the biggest political stories by focusing on research and data, not pundits and politicians.

Understand the political science beyond the headlines with Harris School of Public Policy Professors William Howell, Anthony Fowler, and Wioletta Dziuda.

Not Another Politics Podcast is produced by Matt Hodapp.

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Listen to the full list of Not Another Politics Podcast episodes below. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, RSS feed or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Episode 47 | October 21, 2021

Where Are All The Moderate Politicians?

When it comes to polarization, most people in American politics blame the voters. But much of the political science data suggests most voters are actually moderates. So, where are all the moderate politicians?

Episode 46 | October 13, 2021

Are Americans “Politically Sophisticated”?

In 1964, political scientist Philip Converse published one of the most citied papers in the discipline: “The nature of belief systems in mass publics”. It attempted to define just how consistent and sophisticated are the political beliefs of the American public. But how accurate is it, and how has the paper itself pushed political science, creating a feedback loop, to focus on particular questions instead of others?

Episode 45 | September 23, 2021

Do Lockdowns Work?

As the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to surge across the U.S. the question of should we lockdown again is on a lot of people’s minds. But, shouldn’t we stop and look at the data to see if lockdowns work?

Episode 44 | September 08, 2021

Introducing: Entitled

The University of Chicago Podcast Network is excited to announce the launch of a new show, it’s called "Entitled" and it’s about human rights. Co-hosted by lawyers and UChicago Law School Professors, Claudia Flores and Tom Ginsburg, Entitled explores the stories around why rights matter and what’s the matter with rights.

Episode 43 | August 25, 2021

Does Ranked Choice Reduce Strategic Voting?

There’s a long standing debate in political science about the problem of strategic voting: when voters cast their ballots not in line with their true preferences, but for the candidate they hate the least whom they think is also most likely to win. Is there a different, better system out there?

Episode 42 | August 11, 2021

How Much Should We Believe Surveys?

You’ve probably seen a lot of surveys recently about how many Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen, or that they support the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill, or that they don’t trust the vaccine. Do these responses predict their behavior in the real world? Or are they just partisan cheerleading?

Episode 41 | July 28, 2021

Voters and Vaccines: The Politics of Ground Campaigns

Whether it’s trying to convince you to vote for a particular candidate or get vaccinated, the identity of the person who knocks on your door may matter. So who are the people who volunteer to do this canvassing? Are they likely to succeed?

Episode 40 | July 14, 2021

The Long Term Effects Of Infrastructure Investment

Infrastructure. It’s one of the hottest topics in politics today. But what does the research say about the effects and politics of infrastructure investment?

Episode 39 | June 30, 2021

Do Americans Want Moderates or Extremists?

It seems like extremists politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene receive a disproportionate amount of attention and money. This has led many political actors to believe that extremism is good politics. Our hosts examine a new paper that puts this theory to the test.

Episode 38 | June 16, 2021

Fixing the Filibuster

The debate about abolishing the filibuster isn’t going anywhere. Proponents say it forces compromise and consensus, while detractors claim it leads to gridlock and minority rule. But is there a third option?  

Episode 37 | June 02, 2021

Should The Supreme Court Have Term Limits?

A lot of people are unhappy with the ideological make-up of the Supreme Court. They say it doesn’t reflect the majority of the country. President Biden’s commission tasked with reforming the Supreme Court started meeting for the first time in May of this year. One of the proposals they’re going to consider is setting term limits on Justices. But they’re far from the first group to consider this idea.

Episode 36 | May 19, 2021

Always Be Updating: New Research On Old Topics

We’ve been doing this podcast for over a year and we’ve covered a lot of research, but each paper is far from the final word on any topic. On this episode, it’s time to do some updating.

Episode 35 | May 12, 2021

To Block Or Not To Block: Obstruction In The Senate

Does the ability for minority parties to delay and obstruct legislation force the majority party to only pass bills that are more moderate? It’s a question that informs much of our political debate around dilatory tactics like the filibuster.

Episode 34 | April 21, 2021

What the Data Say About Voter ID Laws

There’s a lot of debate in our politics about whether we should have stricter voter ID laws. But both sides are having an argument based almost entirely on assumptions because data on the real effect of these laws are scarce. Not anymore.

Episode 33 | April 07, 2021

Why Democrats Should Move To The Suburbs If They Want To Win Elections

This year the U.S. will go through its decennial redistricting process, which is resurfacing our national conversation around gerrymandering. But Stanford Professor of Political Science, Jonathan Rodden, says gerrymandering isn't the least of our problems when it comes to the politics of geography.

Episode 32 | March 24, 2021

The Institutional Racism of Land-Use Regulation

In a new paper, Jessica Trounstine, chair of the political science department a the University of California-Merced, makes a strong case for why land-use policies aren’t as race-neutral as they seem, and why we need to pay more attention to them.

Episode 31 | March 10, 2021

Are Media Echo Chambers As Big As We Think?

A new paper by Andrew Guess, Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton, provides a completely unique data set that complicates our assumptions about America’s “echo chambers” and media diets.

Episode 30 | February 24, 2021

Nationalized Elections, the End of Local News, and Government Accountability

When was the last time you voted split-ticket in an election? It may not be surprising to hear that our elections have become increasingly nationalized in the last few decades. Most people vote for a single party straight down the ballot. The question is, why?

Episode 29 | February 10, 2021

A New Theory of Political Scandals

In a recent paper, “Political Scandal: A Theory,” our very own Wioletta Dziuda and Will Howell create a new model of political scandal that makes these incentives clear. On this episode, we discuss how these incentives should reshape the way we think about political scandals.

Episode 28 | January 27, 2021

The State of Our Democracy, with James Robinson

One of the defining discussions of the Trump presidency centers on the fate of our democracy. In the aftermath of his populist presidency, and as we transition to the Biden era, we’re wondering whether the future is bright or dim.

Episode 27 | January 13, 2021

Do Americans Support Democracy As Much As They Say?

It’s an extraordinarily distressing time for democracy in America. The storming of the Capitol and the votes by some Republican elected officials questioning the results of the 2020 election have many asking what force could act as a check on these increasing anti-democratic tendencies in American political life?

Episode 26 | December 30, 2020

Best Of: Are We Really Living In Separate Worlds?

As our team takes some time with their families for the holidays, we want to re-share a more hopeful conversation with you that sheds some new light on these seemingly unbridgeable divides in our country.

Episode 25 | December 16, 2020

Do Government Programs Get People More Involved In Politics?

There was an extensive research initiative done on the roll out of the Medicaid expansion, and our boss and the Dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, Katherine Baicker, was involved. On this episode, we parse through the results with her to see if we can get a new perspective on the question of whether giving people resources through government programs increases their involvement in politics.

Episode 24 | December 02, 2020

Presenting The "Big Brains" Podcast

This week, we took some time off for Thanksgiving, so we're going to feature another University of Chicago Podcast Network show. It’s called Big Brains.

Episode 23 | November 19, 2020

The Politics of Distraction

In a new paper, economist Ruben Durante from the University of Pompeu Fabra argues that politicians strategically time controversial actions with major news events, when the United States is most distracted.

Episode 22 | November 09, 2020

What Just Happened?: Just Another Politics Podcast

On this episode, we discuss what message the historic turn out, for both candidates, sends about Trumpism and the increasing left-wing of the Democratic party, why the polls got everything so wrong, again, and what a Biden Presidency will look like given the likelihood of a divided government.

Episode 21 | October 22, 2020

Reining In The Supreme Court

Judges like to present themselves as arbiters of the law, free from the entanglements of politics. But work from Tom Clark, Professor of Political Science at Emory University, calls that idea into question, and shows why our new conservative Court may still follow public opinion.

Episode 20 | October 13, 2020

The Vice Presidential Debate: Just Another Politics Podcast

On this second edition of the "Just Another Politics Podcast Special", we join our fellow political podcasts in sitting back in our armchairs and sharing our thoughts on the Presidential debate.

Episode 19 | October 05, 2020

The Debate: Just Another Politics Podcast

On this "Just Another Politics Podcast Special", we decide to join our fellow political podcasts in sitting back in our armchairs and sharing our thoughts on the first Presidential debate.

Episode 18 | September 23, 2020

How To Really "Get Out The Vote"

On this episode, we debate the effectiveness of get-out-the-vote strategies and the implications for the 2020 election, starting with research from Columbia University Professor Donald Green.

Episode 17 | September 10, 2020

October Surprises and the 2020 Election

On this episode, we discuss research that could change the way we view “October surprises”.

Episode 16 | August 26, 2020

Discrimination: Why Women Outperform Men in Congress

We examine a paper by Profs. Christopher Berry and Sarah Anzia that assesses discrimination against women in elections by testing how women perform once in office.

Episode 15 | August 12, 2020

How The Rich Rule Despite Unpopular Inequality

How is it that in a Democracy with massive inequality, where the poor have just as much voting power as the rich, do the wealthy continue to get what they want politically? It’s a question that’s troubled political thinkers for a long time. 

Episode 14 | July 29, 2020

Should We Make It Illegal Not To Vote?

In this episode, our very own Anthony Fowler explains a new report that he co-authored in Brookings that argues we will get better representation but instituting compulsory voting in the U.S.

Episode 13 | July 15, 2020

Why The Presidency Is Key To Combatting Populism

The dramatic rise of populism in America, embodied in President Trump, presents a real threat to democracy. Our very own professor William Howell argues that the root of the problem lies with ineffective government.

Episode 12 | July 01, 2020

Would A Woman Executive Govern Differently Than Men?

One of the most anticipated developments of the 2020 election is who Democratic Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, will pick to be his running mate. One thing is almost certain though, whoever he picks will be a women. And that person very well could be the first female President of the United States.

Episode 11 | June 17, 2020

Do Protests Affect Elections?

In the last few weeks, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and many other black people at the hands of police have driven nationwide protests. To be true to the mission of our show, we want to look at this complex moment through the lens of political science research.

Episode 10 | June 03, 2020

Do Politicians Vote With Their Donors When Voters Are Distracted?

Professor Jorg Spenkuch from Northwestern University provides insight that political accountability takes a big hit during disasters.

Episode 9 | May 20, 2020

Does The Media Really Affect Elections?

The 2020 election will soon be upon us. As usual, news outlets will play a crucial role informing the public about the candidates. But could their decisions actual swing elections?

Episode 8 | May 06, 2020

The Surprising New Data On Vote-By-Mail

One of the concerns of the coronavirus is how we’ll handle voting in the 2020 election. A recent paper from soon to be Asst. Prof at UCLA, Dan Thompson, gives us the best data yet on how vote-by-mail effects turn out and partisans differences in election.

Episode 7 | April 22, 2020

Are Democrats And Republicans Really Living In Separate Worlds?

One of the stories of the coronavirus outbreak has been that Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on a shared set of facts about the virus. But groundbreaking research from political scientist Gregory Huber at Yale University questions the narrative.

Episode 6 | April 08, 2020

How A Single Demagogue Can Change A Democracy Forever

Americans often think of demagogues as a feature of foreign countries with weak or non-existent democracies. But is it possible to still get a demagogue in a functioning and strong democracy? That’s the argument of Mehdi Shadmehr in his paper.

Episode 5 | March 25, 2020

Coronavirus And The Politics of Pandemics

Why don’t we prepare better for crises we know are coming? What effect will the coronavirus pandemic have on Trump’s 2020 chances? Should we even be having an election in the midst of a viral outbreak? On this episode, we turn to political science.

Episode 4 | March 11, 2020

Is Polarization Pushing Us To Hate Each Other?

We’re constantly told that America is too divided. That we no long just oppose members of the opposite party, but actually hate them. That something is broken in American life.

Episode 3 | February 26, 2020

Do Extremist Voters Dominate Primary Elections?

Do primaries attract more extremist voters who skew elections toward candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump? The common idea has always been that their extremism makes them more likely to vote in primaries. But political scientist Lynn Vavreck says the real story is far more complicated in her paper.

Episode 2 | February 12, 2020

The Troubling Economic Logic of Racially Charged Policies

Could racially charged policies cause you to act racist, even if you aren’t actually a racist? That’s the story two scholars, Stephane Wolton and Torun Dewan from the London School of Economics and Political Science, tell in a recent paper.

Episode 1 | January 24, 2020

Do Divisive Primaries Actually Affect General Elections?

Do divisive primaries actually affect how candidates will perform in general elections? It's a question political scientist have been trying and failing to untangle, but we found someone who may have an answer.