American Politics subfield

American politics at Notre Dame empirically analyzes mass political behavior, political institutions, and public policies to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of democracy.

We provide a fruitful, collegial, collaborative intellectual community around questions of political equality, political behavior and public opinion, American political development, political parties and representation, and research methods.

The study of American politics has been enriched by the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy.  The Rooney Center 

  • organizes weekly research workshops for faculty and graduate students
  • sponsors seminars and lectures by visiting scholars
  • organizes conferences
  • provides research grants for students and faculty


We emphasize close interaction between faculty and graduate students. In particular, faculty make special efforts to prepare students for future careers through close mentoring and collaborative research projects.

Graduate students simultaneously specialize in a subfield of American politics and develop a broad foundation in the study of American politics.



Specialty within American Politics


Peri Arnold

American political development, presidency, public policy, public administration


David Campbell

Political participation, religion and politics, education policy


Darren Davis

Political and social psychology, political behavior, public opinion, research methods, race and politics


Luis Fraga

Racial and ethnic politics, Latino politics, immigration policy,
education politics, urban politics


Matthew Hall

Judicial politics, constitutional law and theory, American political institutions, and research methods


Gary Hollibaugh

Quantitative research methods, American political institutions, executive politics, congressional politics


Geoffrey Layman

Political parties, public opinion, electoral behavior, religion and politics


David Nickerson

Political participation, political behavior, experimental methods, social networks


Dianne Pinderhughes

Race and politics, voting rights, urban politics, women and politics


Benjamin Radcliff

Political participation, social choice theory, democratic theory, theories of the state, the political determinants of quality of life


Ricardo Ramirez

Political participation, voter mobilization, Latino politics, public opinion, diversity


Christina Wolbrecht

American political development, political parties, women and politics



Field Expectations for Second-Year and Third-Year Reviews.