Making sense of the 2012 presidential election

In making sense of the 2012 elections, U-M political scientists came to the same conclusion about what led to President Obama’s victory: race and gender affected which candidate voters chose.

Donald Kinder, Vincent Hutchings and Michael Traugott

From left: Donald Kinder, Vincent Hutchings and Michael Traugott. Photo by Eva Menezes.

Less than 24 hours after most ballots were counted – except for Florida – Vincent Hutchings, Donald Kinder and Michael Traugott offered their election analysis during a Wednesday panel at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

Most national polls accurately predicted a close U.S. presidential race. However, until the final few weeks before the elections, it was unclear how race and gender would affect the outcome. Exit polls showed several results that could impact future elections, especially for the Republican Party, the experts said. Continue reading

Burns reappointed Director of ISR Center for Political Studies

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Nancy Burns has been re-appointed Director of the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR). A political scientist who has studied the reasons for gender differences in political participation, she was the first woman named to lead an ISR Center in 2005.
“I am pleased to announce that Nancy will remain one of the Institute’s key leaders,” says ISR Director James S. Jackson. “She has shown herself to be an effective leader as well as a prolific scholar and supportive mentor to junior colleagues and students.”

With the reappointment of Burns, and the recent appointment of sociologist Pamela Smock as Director of the ISR Population Studies Center, women will lead two of the five ISR Centers.

Burns joined the ISR Center for Political Studies in 1990. She received a B.A. in political science from the University of Kansas, an M.A. from Harvard University in 1988 and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard in 1991.

Contact: Diane Swanbrow,, (734) 647-9069