Polis Research Blog

Political scientists at Duke University draw upon a variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches to produce cutting-edge research that enhances our understanding of politics.  Polis is committed to showcasing political science research at Duke and to facilitating its creation.

Professor Hildebrand on NC’s new 2nd Congressional District, The Washington Post

Asher Hildebrand was quoted in the Washington Post about NC's new 2nd Congressional District and the race for Rep. David Price’s seat.

“I don't think Democratic primary voters in this district are particularly concerned with moderation on policy. I just pick up a lot of anxiety and a sense of wanting to fight back.”

-- Professor Asher Hildebrand

To read the full article on gerrymandering and the current state of North Carolina politics, click here.

Professor Antepli and Ray Starling on the NC Leadership Forum, Fayetteville Observer.

Sanford professor Abdullah Antepli and general counsel for the North Carolina Chamber, Ray Starling co-wrote an op-ed on the NC Leadership Forum in the Fayetteville Observer.

The North Carolina Leadership Forum provides a platform for civic, business, and political leaders to discuss North Carolina issues and solutions, the future of the state, and foster productive engagement.

Both Abdullah Antepli and Ray Starling are steering committee members for the NCLF. Their op-ed, "This Thanksgiving season, here are 3 steps for overcoming partisan divides" provides helpful tips on advancing respectful discourse and deeper connections with those that may not share the same political viewpoints or world experiences.

“First, it is important to talk about topics where we disagree and try to understand where the disagreement is coming from…Talking in detail helped us defuse misconceptions and brainstorm possible responses we could support.

…Second, it is critical to build trusted relationships with people who hold different views if we want to make progress on important topics.

…Third, leaders need to work constructively — and visibly — with each other regardless of party, race, ethnicity, gender or where we live.”

-- Professor Abdullah Antepli & Ray Starling

To check out the full Fayetteville Observer article click here

Professor Abdullah Antepli is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Interfaith Relations and an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy

Professor Deondra Rose on Redistricting and American Democracy, Policy 360: Ep. 131

Dean Kelley interviewed Deondra Rose on the Policy 360 podcast about the threat to democracy posed by gerrymandering

On why redistricting is central to democracy: “This basic constitutional principle where each person should have the capacity to have her, his, or their interest represented in the halls of power is really central to democracy, what we aspire to be as a democracy, and yet politics often gets in the way. So if we’re entrusting politicians to write congressional districts to draw out these maps, there’s really no guaranteeing that they won’t factor in their own political interests when doing this important work..”
-- Professor Deondra Rose

To check out the Policy 360 episode click here

Professor Deondra Rose is Director of Polis: Center for Politics and Associate Professor of Public Policy, Political Science, and History at Duke University

Professor Asher Hildebrand on NC’s New Congressional Maps, Capital Tonight

Asher Hildebrand was interviewed on Capital Tonight about the new legislative maps in North Carolina

on fair maps: “I don’t believe personally that fair needs to be exactly proportional to the partisan representation in the state, but it should be within the ballpark, and it should be responsive to the will of the electorate as it changes. ”
-- Professor Asher Hildebrand

To watch Professor Hildebrand's full appearance on Capital Tonight click here

Professor Asher Hildebrand is an Associate Professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Sanford Undergraduate Olivia Reneau on Black Property Ownership Research in Wilmington, NC

This summer, Olivia Reneau, an undergraduate student at Sanford, analyzed historic black property ownership in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Her work has involved identifying Black (more often specified as ‘Mulatto’ by census takers) real property owners from the 1860 Census, identifying their property ownership with deeds, and documenting all transactions where these individuals chose to sell their property until approximately 1950.

While real estate transactions are common place in modern times, only a small portion of property owners were Black individuals prior to the U.S. census. Her research aims to determine the circumstances surrounding land-based transactions with free, Black grantors.

"My hope is that this work will inform our understanding of Black, real property ownership not only to better inform policies that aim to close the racial wealth gap (such as reparations), but to convey the complex and deeply emotional story of Black land acquisition and loss in the United States."
-- Olivia Reneau

Olivia Reneau is an undergraduate student at the Sanford School of Public Policy, PEP fellow, and a former Polis Director's Fellow.

Professor Chris Bail on Identity, Extremism, and Polarization on The Purple Principle

Professor Chris Bail went onto The Purple Principle to discuss social media's role in heightening political polarization and extremism

His experiments at the Polarization Lab study the mechanisms surrounding political online identities and build tools to promote civil discourse and bridge the partisan divide.

“…The idea was, of course, that if you take people out of their echo chamber, they should become more moderate... And unfortunately, what we found is more or less the opposite… Nobody became more moderate when they followed these bots for a month that exposed them to the other side. And some people, and particularly Republicans, became much more polarized.”

“If and when...productive political dialogue takes place meaningfully, people who have irreconcilable political disagreements falling in different sides of the partisan aisles gradually realize that their disagreements, as real and important as they are, do not stem from having a different or contradictory set of values and morals but they are coming from ranking and emphasizing these values differently.”

-- Professor Chris Bail

You can find the full podcast here.
To learn more about Professor Bail’s research, check out his book Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make Our Platforms Less Polarizing (2021 Princeton University Press), and follow him on Twitter!

Professor Chris Bail is the Director of the Duke University Polarization Lab and a Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Data Science