Experts: UC Davis Media Sources for 2022 Elections

Political Science, Law, History, Communication

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With mid-term elections on the horizon, the University of California, Davis, offers expert sources for media in communication, political science, law, history, management and other fields. This list will be updated periodically throughout the election cycle.

General elections, American politics, public opinion, elections

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Ben Highton, professor and chair in the Department of Political Science, teaches and conducts research in the areas of American politics, public opinion, elections and research methods. He currently serves as a member of the American National Election Studies Board. Contact:

California elections and politics

Scott MacKenzie, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, researches American national institutions, political development, political methodology, and local government and politics.

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His publications include Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diego (2011), “Informing the electorate? How party cues and policy information affect public opinion about initiatives” (2014), ”From political pathways to senate folkways: Electoral reform, professionalization and representation in the U.S. Senate” (2014), “Life before congress: Using pre-congressional experience to assess competing explanations for political professionalism” (2015), and “Informing electorates via election law: An experimental study of partisan endorsements and nonpartisan voter guides in local elections” (2015). Contact:

Party polarization


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Jim Adams, professor in the Department of Political Science, studies parties, elections and public opinion. His work analyzes parties’ election strategies along with the levels, causes, and consequences of cross-party hostility and distrust in western publics, including the United States. Read his book American Affective Polarization in Comparative Perspective, which compares affective polarization in the United States over the past 25 years. Contact:

Voting behavior, swing voters and election forecasting

Chris Hare, assistant professor of political science, uses statistical modeling and innovative quantitative methodology to better understand voting behavior, public opinion and political campaigns.

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Since 2017, he has taught workshops on machine learning applications in the social sciences for the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research. His research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, and Political Behavior. He is also a co-author of the book Analyzing Spatial Models of Choice and Judgment. Contact: 530-754-0942,

Racial and ethnic politics, especially Latinx politics


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Brad Jones, professor of political science, teaches and does research in the field of race and ethnic politics, particularly emphasizing immigration policy, attitudes and opinion about immigration, and Latinx politics more generally.

His recent work has focused on the implications of deportation policy as well as the relationship between border enforcement and migrant deaths on the U.S.-Mexico border. Jones also focuses on Latinx identity, non-Latinx perceptions of Latinx, and Latinx-relevant public policy, including U.S. immigration policy. His work has been published in several leading academic journals such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Politics of Groups and Identity, and Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. He frequently engages the media on questions related to immigration policy and has been quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Pacific Standard and other national media as a leading source of public opinion on immigration and border-related issues. In addition to national media, he has discussed these issues with Australian, French, Italian, Latvian, and Northern Ireland media outlets. Contact:

How media use, and political talk influences, the political divide

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Magdalena Wojcieszak, professor of communication at UC Davis and associate researcher (ERC SG PI), University of Amsterdam, co-wrote an article about the Democratic primaries after Kamala Harris dropped out of the race. She also researches the role of social media in elections and recently participated with researchers nationwide on a study of social media in the current election. She co-authored an op-ed in The Conversation, “Trump Supporters Have Little Trust in Societal Institutions.” Wojcieszak is interested in how the changing media environment creates both opportunities and challenges for informed publics, tolerant citizenry and responsive governance. Read this story about her research. Contact:

UC Davis research on the gender gap, elections and women's history in the electorate is available here.

Leadership, organizational perception

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Kim Elsbach, professor emerita and Academy of Management fellow, formerly held the Stephen G. Newberry Chair in Leadership in the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. She studies how organizations, their leaders and individuals acquire and maintain images, identities and reputations. She is the author of the book, Organizational Perception Management. Elsbach says, “People in Western society do not like inconsistency in their leaders. It’s what gets a lot of leaders tripped up. There is so much pressure on leaders to be consistent that it outweighs the need to make the right decision or to be accurate.” Contact: 530-752-0910,

Law and elections


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Carlton Larson, professor of law, is a scholar of American constitutional law and Anglo-American legal history.  His scholarship addresses a wide range of issues, including enemy combatant detentions, legacy preferences in public universities, the historical basis of Second Amendment rights, and parents’ rights to name their children. Larson is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the law of treason and is the author of the books On Treason: A Citizen’s Guide to the Law (Ecco/HarperCollins) and The Trials of Allegiance: Treason, Juries, and the American Revolution (Oxford University Press). Prior to joining the UC Davis law faculty, Professor Larson served as a law clerk to Judge Michael Daly Hawkins of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and spent three years as a commercial litigator at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. Contact: 530-754-5731,


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Mary Ziegler, professor of law, is an expert on the law, history and politics of reproduction, health care, and conservatism in the United States from 1945 to the present. She is one of the world’s leading historians of the U.S. abortion debate. She is the author of four books on social movement struggles around reproduction, autonomy and the law, including Abortion and the Law in America: A Legal History, Roe v. Wade to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Beyond Abortion: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Privacy (Harvard University Press, 2018), the award-winning After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate (Harvard University Press, 2015), which won the Harvard University Press Thomas J. Wilson Prize for best first manuscript in any discipline, and Reproduction and the Constitution (Routledge, 2022).

Her new book, Dollars for Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment, is appearing with Yale in 2022. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Atlantic, PBS Newshour, CNN, and the Washington Post. She is working on a history of the nation’s fixation with Roe v. Wade for Yale University Press and editing a comparative volume on the laws of abortion around the world for Elgar Press. She was featured in a UC Davis podcast featured below. Contact:

Rural vote, white vote

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Lisa Pruitt, professor of law, explores rural-urban differences in relation to how people engage law and the state. Her central premise is that law and legal scholarship have become metro-centric and that most lawyers and law professors, along with many judges, know little about rural people and places and how they differ from what has become the implicit urban norm. Pruitt has since brought a ruralist lens to myriad legal topics, among them abortion access, substance abuse, termination of parental rights, domestic violence, access to justice, health and human services, and indigent defense.  Pruitt has also written extensively on Article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, of which Article 14 guarantees particular rights to “rural women.” Pruitt’s work reveals how the economic, spatial and social features of rural locales, (e.g., material spatiality, lack of anonymity) profoundly shape the lives of residents, including the junctures at which they encounter the law. This work also considers how rurality inflects dimensions of gender, race and ethnicity. Indeed, the most recent thread of Pruitt’s scholarship explores critical whiteness studies as a thread of critical race theory. Contact: 530-752-2750,

Redistricting, access to vote

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Chris Elmendorf, professor of law, has varied teaching and research interests including election law, property and land-use law, statutory interpretation, and administrative law. He has published widely in top law journals, including the  Yale Law Journal, Columbia Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, New York University Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, California Law Review, Duke Law Journal, and Cornell Law Review, as well as leading peer-reviewed political science journals such as American Journal of Political Science, Political Analysis, Political Research Quarterly, and Political Behavior. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the MIT Election Science and Data Lab, and an Interdisciplinary Research Grant from the UC Davis Committee on Research. Contact: 530-752-5756,

Media Resources

Media Contact:

  • Karen Nikos-Rose, News and Media Relations, 530-219-5472,

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