Benjamin Toff

Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Areas of Expertise:

About Benjamin

Toff studies public opinion, political communication, digital media, and changing journalistic practices. He is working on two book manuscripts, one focused on “news avoidance,” and the other on the role played by public opinion surveys in news coverage of American politics. Toff is also Senior Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, where leads a multi-year study of trust in news across Brazil, India, the UK, and US.



"Teaching an Old Dog New Tweets: Congressional Campaigns and the Political Content of Social Media Messages," (with David Lassen), American Political Science Association, July 31, 2014.
Uses an original dataset of 500,000 tweets posted by congressional incumbents and their challengers during the 2012 election to identify a range of partisan, constituent, current event, and campaign-related content, providing insight into the words, ideas, and concepts members use on social media and how they relate to political parties, elections, and other traditional elements of American politics.
"Words That Matter: Twitter and Partisan Polarization," (with Young Mie Kim), International Communications Association, April 30, 2014.
Utilizes an automated text analysis tool and the Twitter messages of a sample of 96 partisan media personalities and organizations as well as party leaders and candidates for office to track the degree of their extreme partisan language on in social media.
"Beyond the Party Decides: Modeling the Dynamic Interrelationship between Party Elites, Media Coverage, and Public Opinion during the Invisible Primary," Midwest Political Science Association, March 31, 2014.
Evaluates the degree to which media coverage impacted the pre-election opinion polls during the volatile 2012 Republican presidential nomination contest, using time series statistical analysis to argue that media influenced not only likely voters but the support of elites within the party, often believed to be the determining factor governing a nominee's success.