Katherine Cramer

Professor of Political Science and Director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Connect with Katherine

About Katherine

Cramer studies the way members of the public make sense of public affairs. She is best known for her unique approach to public opinion, in which she invites herself into the conversations of groups of citizens to better understand their interpretations of politics. Most recently, she has been focusing on the way many people in rural Wisconsin use their rural identity to think about current events in that state. She is also Faculty Investigator of the University of Wisconsin Survey Center Badger Poll. Her research interests include public opinion, civic engagement and deliberative democracy. She is a board member of the YWCA Madison, and a commissioner on the City of Madison’s Equal Opportunities Commission.


Real Voting Equality

    Ceri Hughes , Michael Wagner , Dhavan Shah ,
  • Jordan Foley
  • Katherine Cramer

Wisconsin is Scheduled to Vote Today. How will the Pandemic Affect Turnout?

  • Jordan Foley
  • Michael Wagner , Dhavan Shah , Katherine Cramer Ceri Hughes ,

How People Make Sense of Politics

Why Many Americans Resent Public Employees

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

"Many Americans Believe the Economy Is Rigged," Katherine Cramer (with Jonathan Cohen), The New York Times, February 21, 2024.
"Wisconsin Is Scheduled to Vote Today. How Will the Pandemic Affect Turnout?," Lewis Friedland (with Ceri Hughes, Michael Wagner, Dhavan Shah, and Katherine Cramer), Monkey Cage, Analysis, The Washington Post, April 7, 2020.
"What Makes Wisconsin Swing?," Lewis Friedland (with Ceri Hughes, Michael Wagner, Dhavan Shah, Jordan Foley, Katherine Cramer, Jiyoun Suk, Josephine Lukito, and Chris Wells), Vox, March 29, 2019.
"White People Get More Conservative when They Move up — Not down — Economically. Here’s the Evidence.," Katherine Cramer (with Larry Bartels), The Washington Post, May 14, 2018.
Katherine Cramer's research on Jan Shepel, "Book Outlines Resentment among Rural Residents," Wisconsin State Farmer, February 7, 2018.
Guest to discuss rural resentment on Minnesota Public Radio, Katherine Cramer, April 12, 2017.
Katherine Cramer quoted on the perception of white Americans not getting their fair share by Patti Waldmeir, "Stereotype-Defying Trump Voters Have No Regrets" Financial Times, November 19, 2016.
Katherine Cramer's research on the rural-urban gap discussed by Danielle Kurtzleben, "Rural Voters Played a Big Part in Helping Trump Defeat Clinton," National Public Radio, November 14, 2016.
"How Rural Resentment Helps Explain the Surprising Victory of Donald Trump," Katherine Cramer, The Washington Post, November 13, 2016.
Interview on public opinion and resentment Katherine Cramer, The Washington Post, November 8, 2016.
"To Overcome Deep Mistrust, Listen to Rural Families’ Needs," Katherine Cramer, New York Times, September 19, 2016.
"The Politics of Resentment," Katherine Cramer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 19, 2016.
Guest to discuss public opinion on National Public Radio, Katherine Cramer, April 25, 2016.
"Wisconsin's New Politics of Resentment," Katherine Cramer, USA Today, April 4, 2016.
Katherine Cramer quoted on voters who feel neglected by the government by Molly Jackson, "The Next Big Battle for Republican Votes: Wisconsin" Christian Science Monitor, March 28, 2016.
"Here’s What Trump is Telling Resentful Americans (and Sanders is Not)," Katherine Cramer, The Washington Post, March 15, 2016.
Samara Klar quoted on the expertise of women scholars by Xiani Zhong, "Website Listing Female Political Science Experts Aims to Address Implicit Biases" Badger Herald, February 16, 2016.
Katherine Cramer's research on rural Wisconsin citizens discussed by Matt Pommer, "Upcoming Book Highlights Funding Issues," The Courier, June 24, 2015.
Katherine Cramer quoted on public opinion on public sector workers by Noah Berlatsky, "Is Racism Slowing Job Recovery?" Pacific Standard, March 11, 2015.
Katherine Cramer quoted on dialogue groups by Chris Karpowitz and Tali Mendelberg, "Is an Old Boys’ Club Always Sexist?" The Washington Post, October 23, 2014.
"Listen to the Legitimacy of Other Voters," Katherine Cramer, Wisconsin State Journal, June 23, 2012.
"Wisconsin's Political Split Hardens into Great Divide," Katherine Cramer, Interview with David Schaper, NPR, April 30, 2011.


"The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker" (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

Uncovers an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle: rural political consciousness and the resentment of the “liberal elite.”

"The Distance from Public Institutions of Higher Education: Public Perceptions of UW-Madison," Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education, 2012.

Investigates how Wisconsinites think about UW-Madison through investigations of conversations regularly occurring among 36 groups sampled from 27 communities statewide. Reveals a pervasive sense of distance from UW-Madison that is part of a broader sense of disconnection from institutions of authority. Implies that positive relationships between UW-Madison and the mass public will require innovative means of listening and relationship building.

"Talking about Race: Community Dialogues and the Politics of Difference " (University of Chicago Press, 2007).
Examines community-based dialogue programs intended to improve race relations.
"Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Have Undermined Citizenship, and What We Can Do about It" (with members the Standing Committee on Civic Education and Engagement of the American Political Science Association) (Brookings, 2005).
Details what social scientists know about the ways policy undermines the quantity, quality, and equality of civic engagement.
"Talking about Politics: Informal Groups and Social Identity in American Life " (University of Chicago Press, 2004).
Examines informal political talk and the manner in which people use race, class and gender identity to make sense of politics.