David Doherty Associate Professor of Political Science
I am an associate professor of political science at Loyola University Chicago where I teach courses on American politics and political behavior.
My research addresses a variety of issues related to political attitudes and behavior. I am particularly interested in:
public perceptions and evaluations of political processes--how people want political actors to make decisions, what procedures they view as fair and unfair, and how they make inferences about what drives representatives and other political elites;
lab, survey, and field experimental research methods;
how elite communications affect voters' attitudes and behavior;
innovative approaches to teaching political concepts and methods to undergraduate and graduate students.
My work has appeared in journals including The American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior, American Politics Research, Social Science Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, and Journal of Political Science Education. See below for a full list of my publications and working papers, including links to papers.
Associate Professor, Loyola University Chicago, 2016-present.
Assistant Professor, Loyola University Chicago, 2011-2016.
PhD, Political Science: University of Colorado, 2008 Fields of Specialization: American Politics, Political Methodology
Dissertation: "Perceived Motivations in the Political Arena".
Committee: Jennifer Wolak (advisor), Ken Bickers, Vanessa Baird, John McIver, and Chick Judd
B.A., Political Science: New College, Sarasota, FL, 1999
Doherty, David, Conor M. Dowling, and Michael G. Miller. Small Power: How Local Parties Shape Elections (book manuscript)
Doherty, David and Kate Hansen. "Partisan Identities and Interpretations of Economic Data."
We report findings from a series of three survey experiments that assess how partisanship affects people's subjective and objective interpretations of factual, politically-relevant information. We find clear evidence that partisan biases affect how people subjectively rate economic performance, but only scattered, inconclusive evidence that partisan biases affect objective understanding of factual data. In the first two experiments we assess whether reducing the amount of volatility in the graphs we present to respondents attenuates the partisan biases we identify; in the third we assess whether attributing the data to an ideologically-friendly---or unfriendly---media source affects these biases. Neither strategy reduces the biases we identify.
I examine the public's stated preferences about the mode of representation congressional representatives should provide. I also use experimental designs to assess the consequences of these preferences. The evidence I present demonstrates that, like normative and empirical scholars, the public is conflicted about how the representation relationship should work. This said, the experimental evidence I present shows that people are more inclined to reward some modes of representation than others. I also find that, in some situations, policy preferences substantially affect how people resolve their conflicting feelings about which mode of representation is best. The findings offer new insight into how the public thinks about the representation relationship and the potential electoral consequences of a legislator prioritizing one mode of representation over another.
What do people in the Arab world have in mind when they voice support for "democracy" and what shapes these conceptions of democracy? The answer to this question is likely to have important implications for the prospects of establishing lasting democratic institutions in this region. The evidence we report here demonstrates that while some in this region prioritize rules and procedures like elections and free speech in their conceptions of democracy, many see the substantive outcomes democracy might produce as more essential. We find that individual-level characteristics associated with the likelihood that a person is exposed to procedural conceptions of democracy, as well as factors that may lead individuals to see reduction in poverty and inequality as particularly desirable explain variation in how people in this region think about democracy. These findings offer insight into the policies that may encourage citizen appreciation of and commitment to democratic institutions.
We use variation produced by the Electoral College—the creation of battleground and non battleground states—to examine explanations for why people vote. We employ a longer time series (1980-2008) than previous research to gauge the effect of battleground status on state-level turnout. Our model includes (1) midterm elections, allowing us to directly compare the effect of battleground status with the broader increase in turnout associated with presidential elections, and (2) state fixed effects, which capture persistent state-level factors related to turnout. We find that the turnout boost from a presidential election is eight times the effect of being a battleground state. This suggests turnout is primarily linked to factors affecting the entire electorate, such as the social importance of presidential elections, rather than factors that influence just a portion of the country, such as intensive campaigning and mobilization efforts or a greater chance of casting a decisive vote.
Awards and Fellowships
Sujack Master Teacher Award (Loyola University Chicago)
Alice B. Hayes Advising and Mentoring Award (Loyola University Chicago)
LUC Summer Research Stipend: "Local Party Chairs and the Electoral Process."
Best Paper Award (APSA Experimental Methods Section): "The Effects of Candidate Race and Gender on Party Chairs' Assessments of Electoral Viability."
LUC Summer Research Stipend: "The Effectiveness and Extent of Passing the Buck in Congress."
LUC Summer Research Stipend: "The Public's Concept of Representation."
Bonjean Award (Southwestern Social Sciences Association): "Pushing 'Reset': The Conditional Effects of Coaching
Replacements on College Football Performance."
LUC Summer Research Stipend: "Public Responses to Negative Political Information."
LUC Summer Research Stipend: "Public Preferences about the Representation Relationship."
National Science Foundation Grant: "Social and Psychological Dimensions of Ballot Secrecy" (PIs: Alan Gerber and Gregory A. Huber)
Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) grant: "Who Do People Think Representatives Should Respond To: Their Constituents or the Country?"
Center to Advance Research and Teaching in the Social Sciences (CARTSS) Scholars grant: "Deciding What is Fair" (Co-PI: Jennifer Wolak)
Alumni Teaching Fellowship, New College (Sarasota, FL)