Politics & Polls #112: A Midterms Update

Oct 25 2018
By Sophie Helmers and B. Rose Kelly
Source Woodrow Wilson School

Uncertainty looms regarding next week’s midterm elections.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang consider the dynamics shaping the midterm elections and the potential implications with journalist Barry Yeoman and political scientist Danielle M. Thomsen.

Yeoman discusses a judicial race in North Carolina that has significant implications for democracy and voting rights in the state. Thomsen speaks about the likely role that female candidates and women voters will play in November.

Thomsen is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, and a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, Princeton University, 2018-19. She is the author of the 2017 book, “Opting Out of Congress: Partisan Polarization and the Decline of Moderate Candidates.” Her research focuses on the kinds of candidates who run for Congress, how this has changed over time, and why this matters for partisan trends in Congress.

Barry Yeoman is a journalist who “specializes in in-depth reporting that puts a human face on complex issues.” In addition to his work in print media, Yeoman has also made forays into documentary radio. His work has won numerous accolades, including an honor by the Columbia Journalism Review, which proclaimed him to be one of “the best unsung investigative journalists working in print in the United States.”


Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is also a CNN Political Analyst and columnist for the Atlantic. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society," which was just awarded the DB Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress. He has edited and authored 19 books on American political history and published over 700 hundred op-eds, including his popular weekly column on CNN.com.

Wang is professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. He is known for his books "Welcome to Your Brain" and "Welcome to Your Child's Brain" and for his founding role at the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog providing U.S. election analyses. In 2004, Wang was one of the first to aggregate U.S. presidential polls using probabilistic methods. In 2012, his statistical analysis correctly predicted the presidential vote outcome in 49 of 50 states. He has also developed new statistical standards for partisan gerrymandering. A neuroscientist, Wang's academic research focuses on the neuroscience of learning, the cerebellum, and autism.