iOS app Android app

Thomas M. Holbrook
GET UPDATES FROM Thomas M. Holbrook
Thomas Holbrook is department chair and the Wilder Crane Professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is author of Do Campaigns Matter? (Sage, 1996) and dozens of articles on public opinion and elections. He also blogs at:

Entries by Thomas M. Holbrook

Party Favorability

(13) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 2:37 PM

In light of the new Gallup Poll showing Republican favorability at a historic low point, it seems like a good idea to update a post I did on favorability just before the 2012 election. At that point I concluded that the Democrats held a clear advantage...

Read Post

States of Change

(5) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 3:04 PM

Not long after the 2012 election some observers noted an increasing Democratic "lock" on the Electoral College. Although Republican nominee Mitt Romney's campaign took a lot of heat for losing election, there has developed a general sense that changing demographics in key states are setting the...
Read Post

A Partisan Advantage for Obama?

(4) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 1:00 PM

As I pointed out at the end of August, I see political and economic context of the election as favoring Mitt Romney, though not overwhelmingly so.  In fact, I think that Romney's gains after the first debate partly reflected a dissatisfied electorate responding to a campaign event that pushed them in...

Read Post

Debate Expectations

(137) Comments | Posted October 2, 2012 | 12:07 PM

With the first debate scheduled for just a few days from now, media attention has begun to focus on what to expect, or not expect, from this year's head-to-head match ups.  Fortunately, it seems that most commentators are on the same page: don't expect much to change because of the...

Read Post

Bump Time

(79) Comments | Posted August 24, 2012 | 11:12 PM

With the major party conventions kicking off next week it's time to return to one of my favorite topics, conventions bumps.  Four years ago, I posted a summary of convention bumps and I'm updating that information here so we can get a sense of what to expect this year.

Read Post

It's (Not) the (State) Economy, Stupid!

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2012 | 6:04 PM

A couple of weeks ago I saw another story about how the economies in swing states were improving at a faster clip than the rest of the country, and this might very well be the key to President Obama's re-election prospects.  I understand the appeal of this type of argument; after...

Read Post

Unemployment and Elections

(2) Comments | Posted August 18, 2011 | 3:09 PM

In my last post I focused on how ill-advised it is to make any predictions for 2012 based on unemployment rates in the summer of 2011.  As it turns out, even when measured closer in time to the election, the unemployment rate still is not a good predictor of...

Read Post

Too Early for 2012 Predictions

(23) Comments | Posted August 7, 2011 | 6:44 PM

A full fifteen months out from the 2012 election, we are starting to see a bit of hand-wringing among Democrats and signs of optimism among Republicans, largely on the basis of President Obama's tepid approval numbers and the downward stickiness of the unemployment rate.  In the spirit of "Don't Get...

Read Post

The (Not Very) Non-Partisan WI Supreme Court Race

(1) Comments | Posted April 7, 2011 | 2:51 PM

The votes are now in for Wisconsin's "non-partisan" Supreme Court race, which featured incumbent David Prosser, a former Republican state legislator, and Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, who worked for both Democratic and Republican Attorneys general.  Prosser was clearly the favored candidate by conservative and Republican groups, and, despite her...

Read Post

The Approval Gap

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2010 | 7:37 PM

The current discussion of the enthusiasm gap raises the issue of partisan differences in interest and motivation but also seems to have implications for partisan differences in presidential approval. Specifically, an  undercurrent of contemporary discussions of the enthusiasm gap is that Democratic prospects are somewhat handicapped due to relatively anemic support for the President Obama...

Read Post

Polls and Gubernatorial Elections

(17) Comments | Posted October 11, 2010 | 1:12 AM

Despite the fact that the American public (or at least the politically interested among us) are voracious consumers of publicly available polls, it is not uncommon to hear a refrain something along the lines of "you can't trust polls."  Yet, polls abound and play a prominent role in all manner...

Read Post

Are Polls Junk?

(40) Comments | Posted October 5, 2010 | 1:05 AM

Given the sheer volume of polling data made public every day, and given that there sometimes seems to be a lot of variation in what the polls say about individual races, it is not surprising to hear doubts expressed about the overall quality of political polling.  Charlie Cook, for...

Read Post