Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is an associate professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South.

Recent Articles


LifetimeTV has a new poll out reporting women’s attitudes on the presidential candidates. The big story? If she’s not careful, Hillary Clinton , to borrow a self-destructive line Barack Obama used back in New Hampshire, may be slipping into the “likeable enough” range among women: Hillary Clinton was the only candidate who registered a significant net change in public opinion since January: 26% of women surveyed said they like her less now compared to just 15% who said they like her more. Still, 55% said their opinion of Clinton has not changed. Women who said they like Clinton more now largely pointed to aspects of her personality (67%)—noting that she is tough or a fighter. Likewise, those whose opinion of her declined also pointed to her personal traits (67%)—namely saying that she is dishonest. What, specifically, is causing her dip? Hubby Bill. Six percent cited Bill Clinton as the reason their opinion of Hillary has improved; but more than double (15%) said their view of Senator...


Mike Madden of Salon has a great takedown on Mark Penn and the costs (financial and otherwise) Penn and his firm's consultancy created for the Hillary Clinton campaign. The sums boggle the mind, but Madden’s string of rhetorical questions, as Chazz Michael Michaels might say, “bottle” the mind: [W]hat are [donors to the campaign] getting for their money? Do the seniors who aren't taking medication really think [Howard] Wolfson's daily conference calls with the press are worth the $8,000 a week he made while Clinton lost primary after primary in February? Did Penn's direct mail really give Clinton an edge worth $8.9 million in the race against Obama ? Don't candidates who are suddenly raising most of their money from people who can barely afford to send it in have some responsibility not to waste it once they get it? The sheer amount of money raised -- and spent -- this election ought to finally focus some attention on the consultant pay scales quietly established over the years in...


In the next two weeks there will be both a Keystone primary and a touchstone contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton . And one may affect the other. After stalling for three long, post-Ohio, Jeremiah Wright -filled weeks during which Obama made no movement on his deficit margin of about three dozen superdelegates , in the past week Obama narrowed Clinton’s superdelegate lead to an estimated two dozen. I remain convinced that Obama’s ability to hit for the cycle by adding an outright lead (or at least tie) among superdelegates to his lead in popular votes, states won and pledged delegates won is as important if not more important than how he performs in Pennsylvania two weeks from today. In fact, it would be interesting, albeit difficult, if Obama were to pull even before Pennsylvania. On the one hand, catching Hillary among superdelegates could reinforce the notion of Obama’s inevitability, thereby helping him on April 22; on the other, it could create yet another rally-round...


Few bloggers cover electoral politics as smartly and thoroughly as Chris Bowers . So, under normal circumstances I would scoff and just keep moving to the next post over at OpenLeft upon stumbling on Bowers' speculation that the turnout rate in the upcoming 2008 presidential might drop compared to 2004--especially since the past two cycles have seen consecutive jumps in turnout while some other western democracies are experiencing declining turnouts during the past decade or so. But Bowers, as ever, is provocative, especially in talking about the lack of enthusiasm on the center-right toward John McCain’s candidacy. And you never know: Perhaps the ongoing Clinton-Obama battle will yield very motivated supporters for the winner, but deflated enthusiasm for the core supporters of the loser. If one or both of these effects is strong enough, I suppose turnout in 2008 could be lower than 2004 and maybe even 2000. Here’s a strange, closing thought: Could it be that one of George W Bush’s...


Following up on my post about Electoral College reform, yesterday came news that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich joins his counterparts in Maryland and New Jersey in signing his state on as the newest, third member of the National Popular Vote Compact. As Adam Doster at Progress Illinois notes , the three states total 47 electoral votes, putting NPV one-sixth of the way toward its goal of having states with a combined 270 electors. If you are unfamiliar with NPV, you can go here to learn more. --Tom Schaller