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David Doherty

Professor of Political Science, Loyola University Chicago

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About David

Doherty's research interests focus primarily on American Politics, with a focus on political behavior. He is interested in how the public wants elites to make political decisions. How do they respond when politicians reposition (“flip-flop”) on policy matters? To whom do people think representatives should respond? Some of Miller's work also examines elite judgments, including party elites’ perceptions regarding what candidates are likely to appeal to their base. Other recent work considers the forces that shape patterns of participation in the U.S. and in emerging democracies (particularly in Tunisia).


How Local Political Party Leaders Perpetuate the Underrepresentation of Minorities in U.S. Government

  • Conor M. Dowling
  • Michael G. Miller

In the News

Opinion: "Americans' Support for Freedom of Speech Depends on Who's Doing the Speaking and Their Message," David Doherty (with James Stancliffe), London School of Economics Blog on American Politics and Policy, March 6, 2018.
Research discussed by Heather Knight, in "Wacky S.F. Election Mailers Entertain, Even if Truth Suffers," San Francisco Chronicle, March 6, 2018.
Opinion: "Will Hillary Clinton's Flip-Flops Hurt Her? Maybe Not," David Doherty (with Conor M. Dowling and Michael G. Miller), The Washington Post, October 15, 2017.
Quoted by Will Hobson and Steven Rich in "College Sports' Fastest-Rising Expense: Paying Coaches Not to Work," Washington Post, December 11, 2015.
Quoted by Harry Enten in "5 Lessons on the Clinton Email Scandal from Political Science," FiveThirtyEight, May 13, 2015.
Opinion: "Biases in Inferences about Representatives' Motives May Reinforce Political Acrimony." ," David Doherty, London School of Economics American Policy and Politics Blog, January 28, 2015.
Opinion: "Campaign Mailers Can Affect Voter Attitudes, but the Effects are Strongest Early in the Campaign and Fade Rapidly," David Doherty (with Scott Adler), London School of Economics American Policy and Politics Blog, September 10, 2014.
Quoted by Derek Thompson in "Why Don't More Americans Care about Chris Christie's Bridgegate? Political Science Explains," The Atlantic, January 14, 2014.
Research discussed by Mark Blumenthal and Ariel Edwards-Levy, in "Few outside Washington Have Strong Opinions on Filibuster," Huffington Post, November 21, 2013.
Quoted by Mark Mellman in "Public Opinion and the Filibuster," The Hill, November 19, 2013.
Quoted by Dylan Matthews in "We Asked Science if Eliot Spitzer Could Win. It Said Yes.," The Washington Post, July 8, 2013.
Guest on WGN Radio, January 4, 2013.


"Social Signals and Participation in the Tunisian Revolution" (with Peter Schraeder). The Journal of Politics (forthcoming).

Discusses how the Tunisian Revolution led to the establishment of a nascent democracy. However, our analysis finds little evidence that protesters were driven by a yearning for democracy. Instead, participation was closely tied to exposure to pro-participatory signals in the form of participation of others in one’s neighborhood and explicit encouragement to join the protests.

"Do Party Chairs Think Women and Minority Candidates Can Win? Evidence from a Conjoint Experiment," (with Michael G. Miller and Conor M. Dowling), forthcoming.

An experiment on a national sample of local party chairs shows that while they do not downgrade the electoral chances of women candidates, they do view black and Latina/o candidates more negatively, and this penalty cannot be easily explained by other factors such as local conditions. 

"How Policy and Procedure Shape Citizens' Evaluations of Senators" Legislative Studies Quarterly 40 (2015): 241-272.

Reports findings from survey experiments that demonstrate that voters evaluate Senators who prioritize the will of their state over national preferences significantly more favorably than those who side with the broader public. Responses to Senators who choose to filibuster depend on whether the respondent agrees with their substantive position.


"Are Financial or Moral Scandals Worse? It Depends" (with Michael G. Miller and Conor M. Dowling). Political Science and Politics 44, no. 4 (2011): 749-757.

Exposure to information about fictitious scandals suggests that all else equal, voters view politicians embroiled in financial scandals more harshly than those caught up in sex scandals, and an abuse of power by the politician amplifies the effect of both.