University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


Brian Schaffner featured in the media

Earlier this month, Schaffner, comments in a news story about the legal challenge to a Kansas law that requires proof of citizenship to register to vote. Backers of the law say its aim is to prevent voter fraud. Schaffner says a study he conducted found little evidence of voting by non-citizens. “My study actually shows that the likely rate of non-citizen voting in the United States is zero,” Schaffner says. (Mic, 3/5/18) Aclu video: experts debunk trumps voter fraud claims

Later on, research on voters in the 2016 presidential election done by Brian F. Schaffner, political science, is cited in a story about how the Democrats who are winning special elections this year have changed to a strategy most often used by Republican. The strategy, to eschew moderation and “preach to the choir” by directing your message to your bases, may have been what helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. Schaffner says 12 percent of Trump voters in 2016 backed Bernie Sanders in the primary and those voters may have made the difference in key states such as Wisconsin. (Epeak, 3/26/18)

In the New York Times, Brian explains that exit polls are difficult to read, especially on election day when the exact demographics of the electorate are not yet known. He says the information available to pollsters is imprecise. Schaffner’s comments are in a story about how the use of exit polls is believed to mislead Democrats on key issues such as income distribution, race and immigration among the party’s voters and an underestimation of white working-class voters in the party compared to white college-educated voters. (New York Times, 3/29/18)

Schaffner says research on the 2016 presidential election supports the idea that racism and sexism were keys to Donald Trump’s victory. “The 2016 campaign witnessed a dramatic polarization in the vote choices of whites based on (their level of) education,” he says. “Very little of this gap can be explained by the economic difficulties faced by less-educated whites. Rather, most of the divide appears to be associated with sexism and denial of racism.” (Pacific Standard magazine, 4/4/18)


News Type: 

  • Faculty News