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Meet our election experts: Douglas Jones

Douglas JonesWhen it comes to recording the results of elections, it's often unclear to election officials in towns across the country whether the introduction of computers has been a help or a hindrance.

That's where Douglas W. Jones, associate professor of computer science in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, comes in. (more)

Meet our election "expert": IEM investor Ben McCune

Ben McCuneBen McCune is no political expert. An applications developer in University of Iowa Information Technology Services, he keeps up on politics regularly, maybe more than most people, but is not the type you'll see in the punditocracy on CNN or the Sunday morning news shows.

Still, his opinion has a bit more influence than the average voter's. McCune is a trader on the Iowa Electronic Markets' political prediction markets, giving him a Who-ish voice that's heard by political Hortons on the campaign trail and in Washington, D.C. (more)

Meet our election experts: Cary Covington

Cary CovingtonAs an expert on presidential politics in a state with first-in-the-nation caucus status, Cary Covington becomes pretty popular with the press every four years. He likens himself to a political cicada.

"I lay underground quietly, unobtrusive, and then every four years I pop out and start making noises that aggravate people," jokes Covington, associate professor of political science in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "But I enjoy providing insights, sharing what I know. I've been here since 1982, and over the years you build up a body of knowledge that other people want to tap into." (more)

Meet UI political expert Tim Hagle, a man in demand

Every four years, the media spotlight shines on the state during the prelude to its first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, and University of Iowa political experts Hagleare in serious demand. State, national, and international reporters call upon UI faculty to explain how the caucuses work, and to provide insight into how Iowans are responding to candidates and their campaign strategies. Over the past 18 months, UI political scientist Tim Hagle has given nearly 250 interviews on candidates, campaigns, and Iowans' impressions of the contenders. (more)

‘Why Iowa?’ explains state’s key role in nomination process, proposes new system

Why Iowa CoverIowa picks corn. New Hampshire picks presidents.

The jab at Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses is a running joke among politicians who dismiss the event as hokey or inconsequential. But the dig is a bit off-base, according to a new book by the University of Iowa’s Caroline Tolbert and fellow political scientists David Redlawsk of Rutgers University and Todd DonovanTolbert headshot of Western Washington University.

Published in December by the University of Chicago Press, “Why Iowa?” argues that Iowa has a major influence on the presidential nomination -– perhaps too much so. The book calls for reform that would preserve the best aspects of caucusing but create a national primary to give the entire country a say in the nominations.

“In the past it’s been Iowa and New Hampshire, followed by Nevada and South Carolina, and a free-for-all on Super Tuesday,” says Tolbert (right), professor of political science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The many states that went after Super Tuesday essentially had no voice because the deal was sealed.” (more)

View related documentary: "First in the Nation: The Iowa Caucuses"

University of Iowa political scientists demystify those crazy caucuses.

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