FACT: “Only 2.5 million Hispanics were registered to vote in 1972, with 2.1 million voting; these numbers increased to 9.4 million registered Hispanics in 2004, with 7.6 million voting.”

New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America
by Marisa A. Abrajano & R. Michael Alvarez

Making up 14.2 percent of the American population, Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the United States. Clearly, securing the Hispanic vote is more important to political parties than ever before. Yet, despite the current size of the Hispanic population, is there a clear Hispanic politics? Who are Hispanic voters? What are their political preferences and attitudes, and why? The first comprehensive study of Hispanic voters in the United States, New Faces, New Voices paints a complex portrait of this diverse and growing population.

Examining race, politics, and comparative political behavior, Marisa Abrajano and R. Michael Alvarez counter the preconceived notion of Hispanic voters as one homogenous group. The authors discuss the concept of Hispanic political identity, taking into account the ethnic, generational, and linguistic distinctions within the Hispanic population. They compare Hispanic registration, turnout, and participation to those of non-Hispanics, consider the socioeconomic factors contributing to Hispanics’ levels of political knowledge, determine what segment of the Hispanic population votes in federal elections, and explore the prospects for political relationships among Hispanics and non-Hispanics. Finally, the authors look at Hispanic opinions on social and economic issues, factoring in whether these attitudes are affected by generational status and ethnicity.

A unique and nuanced perspective on the Hispanic electoral population, New Faces, New Voices is essential for understanding the political characteristics of the largest and fastest growing group of minority voters in the United States.

New Faces, New Voices successfully gives voice to the new Hispanic voter and clearly illustrates the importance of a diverse and growing population. The book is an invaluable addition to both ethnic studies and political behavior literature.”—Choice

We invite you to read the Introduction here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9158.pdf

Be sure to check in every Tuesday for a new tidbit from our great selection of politically-minded books.


FACT: “Although Ronald Reagan was the preferred candidate of the American people in 1980 and 1984, he was also the least popular candidate to win the presidency in the period from 1952 to 1988.”

The Strategic President:
Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership

by George C. Edwards III

How do presidents lead? If presidential power is the power to persuade, why is there a lack of evidence of presidential persuasion? George Edwards, one of the leading scholars of the American presidency, skillfully uses this contradiction as a springboard to examine—and ultimately challenge—the dominant paradigm of presidential leadership. The Strategic President contends that presidents cannot create opportunities for change by persuading others to support their policies. Instead, successful presidents facilitate change by recognizing opportunities and fashioning strategies and tactics to exploit them.

Edwards considers three extraordinary presidents—Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan—and shows that despite their considerable rhetorical skills, the public was unresponsive to their appeals for support. To achieve change, these leaders capitalized on existing public opinion. Edwards then explores the prospects for other presidents to do the same to advance their policies. Turning to Congress, he focuses first on the productive legislative periods of FDR, Lyndon Johnson, and Reagan, and finds that these presidents recognized especially favorable conditions for passing their agendas and effectively exploited these circumstances while they lasted. Edwards looks at presidents governing in less auspicious circumstances, and reveals that whatever successes these presidents enjoyed also resulted from the interplay of conditions and the presidents’ skills at understanding and exploiting them.

The Strategic President revises the common assumptions of presidential scholarship and presents significant lessons for presidents’ basic strategies of governance.

“The book should be read and reread by occupants of the White House, as well as by students and scholars of the presidency.”—Brandice Canes-Wrone, Princeton University, Presidential Studies Quarterly

Be sure to check in every Tuesday for a new tidbit from our great selection of politically-minded books.

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen discusses the election’s Ground Wars

Sociology and cognitive sciences editor Eric Schwartz spoke with Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, author of Ground Wars: Personalized Communication in Political Campaigns, about “ground wars” in American politics — knocking on doors, phone banks — and their efficiency in getting candidates’ messages out. If you want to learn more about the resurgence of this rather old-fashioned style of campaigning, check out Nielsen’s book in which he examines how American political operatives use “personalized political communication” to engage with the electorate, and weighs the implications of ground war tactics for how we understand political campaigns and what it means to participate in them.

ps – Eric risked life and limb during the production of this video. At about the 18 minute mark you will hear the Press’s fire alarm in the background. Thankfully it was just a drill and even more importantly it doesn’t overwhelm the discussion!


John Sides on his forthcoming book with Lynn Vavreck

Over at The Monkey Cage, John Sides does a terrific job explaining the unique publishing initiative he and co-author Lynn Vavreck are undertaking, along with their political sciences editor Chuck Myers.

“We are going to try something unusual with this book—at least by academic standards,” writes Sides. How unusual? Well, Sides and his colleagues are tackling unusual from both sides — both in the writing and publishing of the book. The book will be based on articles they are writing for various blogs about YouGov‘s election survey data (you can read some of their posts here at PUP). They are encouraging dialogue with readers via comments so they can refine their text.

Regarding the publishing process, they are also trying something completely new. At an academic press, projects are subject to lengthy peer review processes but Sides and his colleagues have come up with a novel solution. “Blind” readers normally read a complete manuscript to provide feedback, but in order to speed up the publishing schedule for this book, the editorial team “has recruited reviewers who will read and comment on chapters as they are written.”

The publishing strategy for this book is also quite different. We will publish short ebooks — parts of the whole — prior to the print publication. “Princeton will also be publishing the first 2 chapters in electronic form in August 2012. These chapters will deal with the (1) political and economic landscape as the campaign got under way, and (2) the GOP primary. Hopefully they will serve to generate some interest and discussion,” writes Sides.

This process is an experiment in publishing as well as an attempt to meet Princeton University Press’s mission “to disseminate scholarship (through print and digital media) both within academia and to society at large.”

While the team has thought through all the logistics of this process, they are at the mercy of the candidates and the news. As Sides notes, somewhat tongue in cheek, “if the GOP primary doesn’t end soon, we can’t promise anything.”

Campaign Brouhahas Fail to Captivate, guest post from John Sides

The debate over the Obama administration’s policy on contraception coverage.  Sandra Fluke’s testimony before Congress.  Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on her.  Obama’s phone call to Fluke.  The Republican candidates’ views of all of the above.  These things have driven a lot of political commentary.

Amidst the frenzy, it’s always worth stopping to see how many Americans are tuning in.  It is easy to overestimate how much Americans care about every little political tempest that roils Washington DC, the campaign trail, cable news, or the editorial pages.  A March 3-6 YouGov poll shows that large pluralities, even majorities, of Americans aren’t closely following the contraception contretemps.

This poll first asked about Rick Santorum’s position on birth control: “Which one of the following statements is closest to Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s position on birth control?”  Respondents were given these possibilities:

  • I’m fine with it within a marriage but not outside of the husband-wife relationship because it encourages premarital sex.
  • It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.
  • Contraception. It’s working just fine. Just leave it alone.
  • Have not heard yet about Santorum’s position on birth control.


The second answer is a direct quote from Santorum, but only 34% of respondents identified this as his position.  Ten percent chose the first option.  About 13% chose the third, which was actually a statement by Mitt Romney.  The largest group, 43%, simply said that they had not heard.

The poll also asked respondents this item about the Fluke-Limbaugh controversy:

“Last week, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh described a female Georgetown University law student who testified to Congress about women’s access to contraception at the Catholic university as ‘a slut’ and a prostitute. In the controversy that followed, which of these people called the student to express his disappointment in the personal attack?”

The figure below shows that just about half identified the caller, correctly, as Obama.  The remaining half either misidentified the caller or, most commonly, had not heard.

A similar finding emerges when we move outside the contraception debate to another miniature dust-up: Santorum’s comments about Obama’s views of college education.  The YouGov survey asked: “Which of the following people said, ‘President Obama has said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.’”  Respondent could choose between Sarah Palin, Stephen Colbert, and Santorum.

A large fraction, 42%, identified Santorum as the speaker.  Four percent chose Palin and 7 percent chose Colbert.  But the largest group, 47%, once again had not heard.

To point out that many Americans do not know the answers to such questions is in no way to impugn their intelligence or citizenship.  People are busy and have many interests.  They do not always have the time, inclination, or need to follow politics very closely.  These survey results actually do more to question the assumptions of commentators, who are often anxious to inflate every argument during the campaign to a “game changer”—even if many Americans aren’t really watching the game.

editor’s note — this is the first of what will hopefully be a series of guest posts by John Sides and Lynn Vavreck that assess ongoing polls through the Presidential Election. This article is cross-posted at Model Politics.

Philip Freeman talks politics, elections, Cicero, and HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan

Translator of our little but powerful new book Philip Freeman discussed the election as well as Quintus Cicero and HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan last Friday.  It is a very entertaining segment so take a look.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Philip Freeman talks Cicero and HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION on NPR’s All Things Considered

We were pleased to tune-in yesterday afternoon to catch PUP author Philip Freeman discuss his new translated work by Quintus Tullius Cicero called HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians on NPR’s All Things Considered.  Host Robert Siegel even reads from the book! 

Take a listen if you have a few minutes!

Ancient Roman campaign wisdom in Los Angeles Times op-ed by Philip Freeman

Philip Feeman, the translator of our timely new book HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicans, had his recent op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times yesterday.  Take a look to see which Republican candidate(s) would have done right by Quintus Cicero’s (Marcus’s lesser-known brother) advice.  The “advice” was originally from a letter sent to Marcus when he was in the running for the biggest job in Rome.

“Sheer speed isn’t my goal — this won’t be ‘The Cannonball Run’ on ethanol.”

That said, Des Moines Register political columnist Kyle Musnon does plan to make the 99-city/county tour through Iowa that Bill Cook, author of In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman, proposed on the New York Times Campaign Stops blog last month. Follow his journey here: http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2012/01/08/99-counties-1-week-1-iowa-columnist/.

What’s the over-under on his time and mileage. As he notes, the ideal trip would take 55.5 hours and cover 2,739 miles.