Politics & Government

Nonpartisan examination of the workings of state and national institutions, including legislatures, bureaucracy, and electoral systems

State legislative term limits in Illinois? Prospects and potential impacts

Authors

The year 2007 brought unprecedented political gridlock to Illinois state government, reducing public satisfaction with the governor and General Assembly dramatically, and generating serious discussion about a draconian political reform that dates from the Progressive Era – the recall of elected officials. Only one state has adopted the recall since the 1920s, Minnesota in 1996. But since 1990, almost half the states have adopted a more invasive and significant institutional reform with a similar populist appeal – state legislative term limits.


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Wall Street weakly, or how and when Obama won the presidential race

Authors

At least as far back as spring 2007, some observers regarded the 2008 presidential election as a foregone conclusion. With President Bush’s approval rating hovering around 35 percent and large majorities of the public unhappy about the situation in Iraq, anything but a booming economy would make the Democratic nominee’s job an easy one. So ran conventional wisdom.


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Picking the president by popular plurality? Prospects and partisan politics

Authors

  • Neil Baer

Post-mortems on the 2010 midterm election have quickly segued into forecasts about the 2012 presidential election. Topics under discussion include how durable and cohesive the new Republican House majority will prove to be; who should be regarded as front-runners for the Republican nomination for president; how redistricting will play out in major states and others.


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Kent Redfield is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield. His research interests include state campaign finance, legislative redistricting, legislative behavior, policy analysis and municipal government and special districts. A former legislative staff member himself, Redfield joined UIS in 1979 and directed the Illinois Legislative Staff Internship Program for the next 20 years. He spent a dozen years leading the Sunshine Project, which focused on documenting the role of money in politics, particularly in Illinois. The project led to creation of an online database to track political contributions that is maintained by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

In retirement, Redfield continues to work on campaign finance and other political issues. He is the author or co-author of several books and frequently offers analysis and observation on the state's politcal atmosphere for news media across the state.

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Christopher Z. Mooney is the W. Russell Arrington Professor of State Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He served as director of IGPA from 2013 through mid-2017. He studies comparative U.S. state politics, with special focus on state legislatures and is a noted experts on term limits legislation. In September 2017, he was elected to a two-year term as president of the State Politics and Policy Organize Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA). From 2001 to 2007, Mooney was the founding editor of the top academic journal in his field, State Politics and Policy Quarterly. In honor of his scholarly contributions to the study of state politics, in 2010, the Section endowed the Christopher Z. Mooney Award, bestowed annually for the best PhD dissertation in the field. In 2012, that section of the APSA presented Mooney with its Career Achievement Award.

The main focus of Mooney’s research involves the study of state politics and policy in the United States. In particular, Mooney’s work deals with state legislatures,, lawmaking, and morality policymaking. He is currently working on a long-term project exploring how state legislators think about cause and effect in public policy. He also is the co-author of one of the leading undergraduate textbooks in his field, State and Local Politics: Institutions and Reform, published by Wadsworth/Cengage.

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James Kuklinski’s primary interests include the nature and quality of citizen decision-making, the relationship between public opinion and legislative policymaking, and the use of experiments in social scientific research.


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Brian Gaines's research deals with all aspects of elections, electoral rules, and public opinion. Some of his recent work has dealt with campaign-finance fraud, pros and cons of convenience voting, inference from survey experiments, and assessing bias in electoral maps, and has appeared in such outlets as the American Statistician, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.  He has published op eds in many newspapers in Illinois, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Wall Street Journal. He follows politics in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, and, to a lesser extent, Europe and Australia. Two of his major projects at present are a multi-nation survey about parties and partisanship and a study of public opinion about fairness in taxes.

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