John Sides

John Sides is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University.

Recent Articles

The State of the Union Won't Be a Game Changer

In case anyone gets a case of SOTU fever, I’ll link again to Brendan Nyhan’s post and my post from before last year’s SOTU on what effects the speech might have. In short: few.

Romney's Saving Grace: Boyish Charm Sells

As I have before , I want to flag YouGov’s Model Politics blog for readers. There is and will be a lot of fresh content there, written by political scientists with fresh survey data from YouGov. Here are two recent posts of note The first is from Gabriel Lenz . He ran an experiment in which participants to choose between pairs of Republican presidential candidates. Half the participants were randomly assigned to see pictures of the two candidates when choosing; the other half were not. For the Romney-Gingrich pair, he found that showing the pictures strongly helped Romney among voters who were otherwise less familiar with Gingrich. In fact, it gave Romney at 14-point boost. The second is from Michael Tesler . He shows that racial attitudes are still very strong predictors of how people feel about Barack Obama. And he’s got some lovely graphs. You might think this conclusion is obvious. It’s not. Other research, which I described here , shows that white voters can actually become more...

Academic v. Troll

Cranky Reader: Sides, you’re not just a moron, but a coward. Me: Say what? CR: You’ve been hyping the “ inevitability of Romney ” since, oh, 2008 . Now the South Carolina primary has made you look like an idiot. And 24 hours later you still haven’t blogged about it. Coward. Me: Oh, I see. CR: Admit you were wrong. Admit that this political science theory you’ve been slobbering over is wrong. You know, from The Party Decides ? The one that says that party leaders strongly influence nominations and that the endorsements of these leaders is a key indicator of who’ll get the nomination? Romney has garnered lots of endorsements. Gingrich hasn’t. In fact, lots of party leaders hate him. So you were wrong. Me: Why should I admit that I was wrong or that theory is wrong? The primary isn’t over yet. CR: Yeah, but that Gallup graph you posted last week ? Now look at it . In fact, Gallup’s homepage says Romney’s nationwide margin over Gingrich is even closer today: 5 points. Me: True enough. CR...

The Public Doesn't Get Private Equity

This is a guest post by Lynn Vavreck . ***** Have the attacks on Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital had any effect on voters? Have they even gotten through to voters? In a new poll of likely South Carolina Republican primary voters released on January 20th by YouGov , nearly half (48 percent) of the respondents said they weren’t sure whether they approved or disapproved of Romney’s time at Bain. In the face of all the advertising and free media directed at painting Romney as a “ vulture capitalist ” the fact that half of likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina could not form an opinion on this question is striking. Even more interesting, it is the young (18-29 year olds) and the less-well off (those earning less than $40,000 a year in family income) who are most uncertain about Romney’s time at Bain. Sixty-four percent of young people and 60 percent of the low-income households were too uncertain to give an opinion. Even if the exact information about Romney’s time at Bain...

South Carolina Doesn't Hate Romney

Noam Scheiber : The Romney can’t break 25 percent narrative may be overdone, but no other way to explain Newts resilience than deep dissatisfaction w/Romney. I think there is another way besides “deep dissatisfaction with Romney.” After all, the notion of Newt’s resilience is really built on about a 10-point swing in polls conducted in South Carolina. It doesn’t show up (yet) in the national polls, and it’s unclear whether it ever will. It depends on how the South Carolina outcome is spun and whether the Florida outcome—where Romney is still very likely to win—immediately overtakes the news. So I don’t think that late movement in South Carolina polls is a reliable barometer of overall feelings about the Republican field. But more importantly, attitudes toward Romney are actually pretty favorable, even among supporters of other candidates. Including Gingrich’s supporters! In a January 14-17 YouGov poll, 66 percent of Gingrich supporters said they had a “very” or “somewhat favorable”...